LUSK – The Niobrara County High School boys’ basketball team tipped off their season with a pair of games as Kaycee and Tongue River visited Tiger Gym last Friday. Four juniors and senior Ryan Bruegger started and played almost every minute of the two games.
A veteran Buckaroos squad took an early 10-5 first period lead, and a long buzzer-beating 3-pointer bumped it up to 21-10 at halftime.
Turnovers plagued the Tigers but Walker Kupke’s trey kept Lusk within range during the third period. At one point, NCHS closed within five, but a late basket for Kaycee moved the score to 28-21 entering the fourth.
Lusk struggled from beyond the arc as they tried to mount a comeback, but even Bruegger’s basket and free throw wasn’t enough as the visitors got away with the 42-35 win.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
KHS 10 11 7 14 – 42
NCHS 5 5 11 14 – 35
KHS 16/39 FG; 2/11 3PT; 4/8 FT; 30 REB; 13 AST; 19 TO; 18 PF
NCHS 10/23 FG; 1/18 3PT; 12/19 FT; 36 REB; 7 AST; 26 TO; 12 PF
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring ñ R. Bruegger 12; Molzahn 11; Kupke 7; Cummins 4; Cory Bruegger 1. Rebounds – Molzahn 12; R. Bruegger 7; Kupke 5; Wells 5.
Later in the afternoon, Tongue River had just defeated Kaycee, and while Kupke and Bruegger each buried long-range bombs, the Eagles held a 20-14 lead after one quarter.
Bruegger converted an old fashioned 3-point play to open the second quarter, while Mason Wells and Dylan Molzahn combined for 10 points in the paint to keep the Tigers close. At halftime the visitors held a slim 31-29 edge.
Turnovers and cold shooting continued for NCHS as Tongue River crept out to a 42-35 advantage with one period to go.
Three straight turnovers opened the fourth for the Tigers, as fatigue had taken firm control of Lusk. The 10-deep Eagles used it as a springboard for a 13-0 run, and despite Molzahn’s trey, pulled away for the 63-46 victory.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
TRHS 20 11 11 21 – 63
NCHS 14 15 5 12 – 46
TRHS: 21/38 FG; 5/12 3PT; 6/14 FT; 22 REB; 19 AST15 TO; 10 PF
NCHS: 17/25 FG; 3/14 3PT; 3/7 FT; 27 REB; 13 AST; 28 TO; 12 PF
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring ñ R. Bruegger 18; Molzahn 17; Cummins 4; Wells 4; Kupke 3. Rebounds- Kupke 8; Bruegger 8; Molzahn 8. Assists- R. Bruegger 5.
The JV lost to Kaycee 58-37 as C. Bruegger led Lusk with 16 points, before falling to TR 68-22 with Bruegger scoring eight points. Caleb Miller added five points, six rebounds and four blocks
This weekend NCHS hosts Crawford, Neb. on Friday at 7 p.m. before traveling to Harrison, Neb. on Saturday. The JV will play two quarters starting at noon before the varsity game starts around 4 p.m.