LUSK – Friday night at Tiger Gym, seniors Ryan Bruegger and manager Sierra Lemons were honored before the start of the game.
In the last regular season game, Niobrara County High School stayed close to Pine Bluffs, but the Hornets pulled away late for the 50-30 win.
Bruegger opened the game with a 3-pointer, and Jayce Cummins added another moments later as Lusk led 10-6. The visitors answered with a pair of baskets to tie the game after one quarter.
Pine Bluffs went on an 8-2 run to take the lead, but Bruegger scored a short jumper and knocked down the free throw to pull NCHS within three. Walker Kupke’s trey as halftime approached kept the Tigers close at 24-20.
Dylan Molzahn grabbed a rebound and scored, and his free throw stopped another 8-2 run by the Hornets. But they pushed the lead to 38-29 with the fourth about to begin. Suddenly the offense went ice cold as the Hornet’s 10-1 run helped seal the win. When Bruegger picked up his fifth foul near the two-minute mark, he exited his home court for the final time as the Hornets took the 50-30 final score.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
PBHS 10 16 12 12 – 50
NCHS 10 10 9 1 – 30
PBHS: 12/23 FG; 5/16 3PT; 11/17 FT; 27 REB; 12 AST; 11 STL; 16 TO; 12 PF
NCHS: 8/24 FG; 3/14 3PT; 5/13 FT; 27 REB; 9 AST; 11 STL; 24 TO; 15 PF
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- R. Bruegger 12; Cummins 7; Kupke 6; Molzahn 5. Rebounds- R. Bruegger 9; Wells 5; Molzahn 5.
The junior varsity team lost to Pine Bluffs 19-12 in two quarters. Caleb Miller led the way with seven points.
NCHS enters the 2A Southeast Quadrant Regionals on Thursday at Glenrock against the host school. The teams split their regular season matchups as the Herders won by two in January and Lusk answered with a five-point home win two weeks ago. Game time is set for 2 p.m. with the winner advancing to state. Brackets and ticket prices can be found at whsaa.org.