Taco Johns Classic too hot for Tigers


CHEYENNE – After a solid 5-2 start to the season, the Niobrara County High School boys’ basketball team ran into three very good teams at the Taco Johns Invitational last weekend.

A scheduling quirk had the Tigers visiting Pine Bluffs for a non-conference game last Thursday before facing Riverton and Wheatland.

The Hornets made an early statement with eight 3-pointers and were never challenged by Lusk after that. The score was 43-16 after one quarter, and the home team was on fire. Three-pointers from Damien Molzahn and Ryan Bruegger helped the Tigers play the Hornets closer in the second, yet at the break it was 62-34.

Pine Bluffs added five more treys in the second half, and the Tigers didn’t have enough answers in the 91-50 defeat.

Facing a Class 4A team on Friday at Storey Gym, the Tigers and Riverton played close in the opening stanza. Molzahn dropped a triple and the deficit was just 12-11 after one. Yet the Wolverines defense tightened and gave up just a Carpenter trey in extending their lead to 21-14 at halftime.

The Wolverines used their size and speed advantage and gradually pulled away from NCHS. The 13-point lead after three periods became a final score of 48-27 for Riverton.

Saturday, the Tigers had their hands full with the Wyopreps.com Class 3A No. 3-ranked Wheatland Bulldogs.

Kupke’s trey kept Lusk within 12-10 after one quarter, while Carpenter buried one in the second. Bruegger completed three of four from the charity stripe and Lusk was only down 28-23 at halftime.

Wheatland used the same formula on Lusk as the others in this four-game losing streak for the Tigers. Force turnovers and challenge their depth worked again as the Bulldogs went on a 17-7 run in the third quarter. They closed with a 25-point final frame in the 70-44 defeat that left NCHS at 5-5 on the season.

The JV had a hard weekend as they lost at PB 67-46, to Riverton 63-46 and Wheatland 40-30.

On Friday, the Tigers host Lingle-Fort Laramie for JV at 4 p.m. (LEMS) and varsity at 7 at Tiger Gym.

Pine Bluffs

SCORE BY QUARTERS

NCHS 16-18-6-10--50

PBHS 43-19-20-9--91

TEAM STATS

NCHS 4/33 FG; 5/17 3PT; 7/10 FT; 34 REB; 15 AST; 6 STL; 28 TO; 9 PF

PBHS 22/37 FG; 15/34 3PT; 2/6 FT; 33 REB; 27 AST; 22 STL; 10 TO; 11 PF

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Bruegger 17, Carpenter 9, Da. Molzahn 7, Wyatt Stauffer 6, James Stone 5, Walker Kupke 2, Ben Eiden 2, Dylan Molzahn 2. Rebounds- Bruegger 8, Da. Molzahn 5. Assists- Da. Molzahn 5.

Riverton

SCORE BY QUARTERS

NCHS 11-3-6-7--27

RHS 12-9-12-15--48

TEAM STATS

NCHS 9/22 FG; 2/17 3PT; 3/5 FT; 26 REB; 8 AST; 12 STL; 24 TO; 13 PF

RHS 11/19 FG; 7/22 3PT; 5/12 FT; 29 REB; 10 AST; 9 STL; 23 TO; 14 PF

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Bruegger 8, Stone 6, Stauffer 5, Da. Molzahn 5. Rebounds- Stone 9.

Wheatland

SCORE BY QUARTERS

NCHS 10-13-7-14--44

WHS 12-16-17-25--70

TEAM STATS

NCHS 14/27 FG; 2/15 3PT; 10/23 FT; 40 REB; 15 AST; 3 STL; 25 TO; 18 PF

WHS 24/44 FG; 4/22 3PT; 10/17 FT; 31 REB; 13 AST; 17 STL; 8 TO; 21 PF

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Stauffer 17, Bruegger 12, Mason Wells 4, Stone 3, Carpenter 3, Kupke 3, Dy. Molzahn 2. Rebounds- Bruegger 9, Carpenter 7, Stauffer 6, Stone 5. Assists- Stone 9.

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