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FEBRUARY 14, 2019 (GRAND ISLAND, NEB.)  — Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) have arrested several people and seized 100 pounds of marijuana during five traffic stops this week on Interstate 80. All five stops happened between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

At approximately 1:55 p.m. MT Tuesday, trooper located more than two pounds of marijuana after stopping an eastbound Toyota Yaris for speeding at mile marker 18 near Kimball. The driver, Jessica Reyna, 25, of Sacramento, California, and passenger, Chase Sinclair, 29, of Charlotte, North Carolina, were both arrested and lodged in Kimball County Jail.

Troopers then found 85 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop at approximately 3:45 p.m. CT Tuesday. A trooper had stopped a Chevrolet Tahoe parked in a no-parking area on the shoulder of the on-ramp at exit 324 near Giltner. The driver, Franklin Schillfarth, 55, of Maryland, was arrested and was lodged in Hamilton County Jail.

On Wednesday at approximately 7:20 a.m. CT, another trooper stopped an eastbound Kia Rio for speeding at 114 miles per hour on I-80 near North Platte at mile marker 176. Marijuana containers were plainly visible in the vehicle and the trooper found approximately two pounds of marijuana during a search. The driver, Brianna Glover, 23, and passenger, Rashawn Hampton, 23, both of Michigan were arrested and lodged in Lincoln County Jail.

At approximately 9:00 a.m. CT Wednesday, a trooper stopped a Chevy pickup pulling a trailer for failing to stay in its lane near Kearney at mile marker 280. The trooper could smell the odor of marijuana in the vehicle and conducted a search. The search revealed personal use marijuana and a handgun. Additionally three pounds of marijuana was located hidden inside a large, older television. An investigation revealed that the driver was unaware of the marijuana inside the television. The driver, Ryan Taylor, 35, of Florida, was arrested and cited for a concealed handgun violation and personal use marijuana. He was lodged in Buffalo County Jail.

Finally, at approximately 10:45 a.m. MT, a trooper discovered seven pounds of marijuana after stopping an eastbound Hyundai Sonata for speeding near Kimball at mile marker 18. The driver, Christopher Seligman, 35, of Maryland, was arrested and lodged in Kimball County Jail.

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) — A 19-year-old driver is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 26 for the Platte County crash death of a motorcyclist.

Court records say Daisy Gonzalez, of Madison, pleaded no contest Tuesday to misdemeanor vehicular homicide. Prosecutors dropped a related charge in return for her plea.

The records say the collision occurred Aug. 2 at the intersection of Nebraska Highway 91 and 490th Street. The records say her minivan collided with the motorcycle driven by 22-year-old Joshua Gasper, of Columbus. He died days later of his injuries.

News Director Ryan Baker talked to Police Chief Dennis DaMoude tonight after the shooting in Holdrege Thursday afternoon.  

Press Release from Nebraska State Patrol

A Holdrege man has been arrested following the shooting deaths of two people and the wounding of a third person in multiple incidents that occurred in Holdrege during the afternoon hours of Thursday, February 21.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., the Holdrege Police Department responded to a report of a shooting at 416 Logan Street. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the incident. Additional crime scenes were then identified in multiple units at the Sunrise View Apartments at 1422 12th Avenue.

A short time later, a vehicle owned by the suspect was seen traveling in the north part of Holdrege. A short, low-speed pursuit ensued and the suspect drove to the Phelps County Sheriff’s Office where he was taken into custody without further incident.  

The suspect, Manuel Gomez, 45, of Holdrege, has been lodged in Phelps County Jail. Gomez is the only suspect in all three shootings.

The victims are identified as Raymond Burton, 65, David Rogers, 54, both of whom were found deceased in separate units of the Sunrise View Apartments. The third victim, Doyle Morse, 64, was able to call 911 after being shot at 416 Logan Street. He has been life-flighted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney in critical condition.

The Nebraska State Patrol has been assisted by the Holdrege Police Department, the Phelps County Sheriff’s Office, and South Central Area Law Enforcement Services in the investigation. The investigation is ongoing.

Interview with Dennis DaMoude


Monday, February 25 th : Cheyenne County KS (St. Francis) St. Francis Emergency Building, 125 W Hwy 36

Tuesday, February 26 th : Thomas County (Colby) Community Building downstairs, 285 E 5 th Street
Monday, March 4 th : Greeley County (Tribune) Tribune Fire Department, Ingalls and W Greeley Avenue
Tuesday, March 5 th : Graham County (Hill City) Frontier Stage, 321 Main Street
Thursday March 7 th : Hitchcock County (Culbertson) Culbertson Fire Station, Warsaw and Taylor
Monday, March 11 th : Decatur County (Oberlin) Golden Age Center, 105 W Maple Street
Tuesday, March 12 th : Sherman County (Goodland) Wolak Building, 1006 Center Street
Wednesday, March 13 th : Cheyenne County CO (Kit Carson) Kit Carson Volunteer Fire Department, 306 W 287/Hwy 40
Thursday, March 14 th : Dundy County (Benkelman) EMS Building, 1305 A Street
Friday, March 15 th : Wallace County (Sharon Springs) Wallace County Fairgrounds CAB Building
Monday, March 18 th : Kit Carson County (Burlington) Burlington Ambulance Building, 1576 Lowell Avenue
Tuesday, March 19 th : Yuma County (Wray) Wray Fire Hall, 145 Main Street
Wednesday, March 20 th : Red Willow County (McCook) Heritage Senior Center, 1312 W 5 th Street
Thursday, March 21 st : Wichita County (Leoti) Leoti Fire House, 301 N 4 th Street
Monday, March 25 th : Gove County (Grainfield) Gove County 4-H Building, 757 W 3 rd Street
Tuesday, March 26 th : Sheridan County (Hoxie) Bowen Scott House, 1041 Sheridan Avenue
Thursday, March 28 th : Logan County (Oakley) Logan County Courthouse downstairs, 710 W 2 nd Street
Tuesday, April 2 nd : Rawlins County (Atwood) Prairie Development Center, 208 S 4 th Street
Wednesday, April 3 rd : Norton County (Norton) Prairie Land Electric Cooperative, 14935 US Hwy 36

DEWITT, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a 2-year-old Nebraska boy died after he was hit by a bus driven by his father.
The Beatrice Daily Sun reports the incident happened Saturday in the driveway of the family's rural home about 5 miles east of DeWitt in southeast Nebraska.
Just before 1 p.m. Saturday, the family called for help after the boy was run over. Two-year-old Maddox Weber died at the scene.
The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating.

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced the agenda for the 31st Governor’s Ag Conference, which brings together ag producers, industry leaders and agri-business managers in Nebraska on an annual basis to talk about the future of agriculture.  The conference is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, March 4-5, 2019, at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.

“For 31 years, the Governor’s Ag Conference has been a premiere forum for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and industry leaders to come together to discuss agriculture and how to keep growing our state’s number one industry,” said Governor Ricketts.  “We hope you can join us to talk about the future of agriculture in Nebraska.  It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss.”

“We’ve asked industry experts at the local, state and federal level to lead discussions at this year’s Governor’s Ag Conference and share their knowledge and experience with producers and agribusiness leaders from around the state,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  “Conference speakers and attendees can use this opportunity to connect with colleagues and prepare for the future.”

The conference starts Monday, March 4, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. with a panel presentation featuring Nebraska entrepreneurs and recruiters.  The panel includes representatives from three innovative Nebraska companies and three organizations involved heavily in recruiting companies to Nebraska.

On the entrepreneur side, the panelists are Vishal Singh with Quantified Ag; Lukas Fricke with ChorChek; and Mitch Minarick with FARMAFIELD.  These speakers will discuss their companies, goals, visions and why they chose Nebraska communities to start their businesses. 

The three people representing recruitment success are: Phil Kozera with Bio Nebraska; Dan Duncan with Innovation Campus; and Bryan Slone with the Nebraska State Chamber.  They will discuss their efforts in recruiting and how to find and attract startups as well as how to connect to established industries. 

Governor Ricketts will moderate this panel presentation that will include questions and answers from the audience.

The annual “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception, at 6 p.m. on March 4th will feature an assortment of food and beverages from Nebraska.

The conference resumes on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at 9 a.m. with a presentation from Jim Smith, executive director of Blueprint Nebraska, an organization that is spearheading a statewide, citizen-led economic development initiative.

Governor Ricketts, NDA Director Wellman and Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe will update conference participants on legislative initiatives in agriculture and highlight the work being done between state agencies to grow Nebraska.  This panel presentation will be moderated by NDA Assistant Director Amelia Breinig.

Next on the agenda will be Jim Wiesemeyer, with Pro Farmer, giving participants an update on the national farm bill and how it will impact farmers and ranchers nationwide as well as here in Nebraska.   

The Governor's Ag Conference is coordinated by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and is co-sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America.  A $125 registration fee covers participation at activities on both Monday and Tuesday.  Registration and additional information is available online at, or by calling NDA toll-free at (800) 831-0550.


On March 5, 2019 Deputies were sent to mile marker 197 (just east of Brady, NE.) on U.S. Highway 30. It was reported two vehicles had struck each other and there were injuries to both drivers. Deputies arrived and met with the drivers of the vehicles.

The investigation showed a black GMC Denali was eastbound on Highway 30 in its proper lane. A white Mitsubishi Mirage was westbound on Highway 30 and crossed the center line and struck the GMC Denali. The driver of the GMC was injured but refused medical treatment.

The driver of the Mitsubishi suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Great Plains Health. He was identified as thirty-one year old Joshua Baker of North Platte. Deputies believed Mr. Baker was under the influence of narcotics at the time of the accident. Deputies found suspected THC Wax in the vehicle and other items. Mr. Baker did not have a license or insurance at the time of the accident. Criminal charges are pending Mr. Bakers release from the hospital and laboratory testing. The investigation continues.

On 2/5/19 at approximately 21:43, Scottsbluff Police responded to the intersection of Hwy 26 and 5th Ave in reference to an injury accident involving two vehicles.  The investigation found that a blue 2005 Chrysler Pacifica driven by Austin Rhamy (20) of Scottsbluff and a gray 2004 GMC Yukon driven by Raquel Wurdeman (23) of Gering were involved in the accident.  It was found that the Chrysler was north bound on 5th Ave and the GMC was east bound on Hwy 26.  The Chrysler and GMC collided in the intersection.  Both drivers reported they each had the green traffic signal in their respective directions of travel.  There were no witnesses on scene to confirm which direction of travel had the green traffic signal.  Both vehicles were estimated to have $7000 in damages.  Both vehicles were required to be towed from the scene.  Wurdeman and one passenger in the GMC had complaints of pain, but declined to be transported by ambulance for treatment.  Scottsbluff Fire Department and Valley Ambulance responded to the accident.  Eastbound lanes of Hwy 26 at 5th Ave were closed for approximately 45 minutes while the accident was investigated. 

JUNE 21, 2019 (BRIDGEPORT, NEB.)  — The Morrill County Sheriff’s is able to release additional details regarding the crash that claimed the life of Nebraska State Trooper Jerry L. Smith, #373, on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

At approximately, 7:36 a.m., the Morrill County Sheriff’s Office received several 911 calls in reference to a three-vehicle crash west of Bridgeport on Highway 26, near mile marker 59. The 911 calls indicated that one of the vehicles involved was that of a Nebraska State Trooper. Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene at 7:39 a.m. MDT.

The crash occurred when a 2002 Dodge Ram, driven by MaryJo Decora, 60, of Bridgeport, was stopped on the highway waiting to make a left turn into the Oregon Trail Memorial Cemetery. Decora’s vehicle was struck from behind by a 2005 Mazda Tribute, driven by Derek Lacrete, 28, of Lewellen. Lacrete’s vehicle hit the back, driver’s side of Decora’s vehicle, causing Lacrete’s vehicle to veer into the oncoming lane, colliding head-on with a Nebraska State Patrol 2016 Dodge Charger, driven by Trooper Jerry Smith, 51, of Scottsbluff.

Trooper Smith was pronounced deceased on the scene. Lacrete was ejected from his vehicle during the crash and was also pronounced deceased on the scene.

The Morrill County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska State Patrol, Morrill County ALS, Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office, Wyoming State Patrol, and fire departments from Bridgeport, Bayard, and Broadwater all responded to the scene.

The crash is still under investigation by the Morrill County Sheriff’s Office with reconstruction assistance from the Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office.

Funeral services for Trooper Smith are pending. Details will be released when appropriate.

MARCH 4, 2019 (NORTH PLATTE, NEB.)— Investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol
(NSP) conducted alcohol inspections in Dawson County during the evening hours of Friday,
March 1.
The project was supported in whole or part by grant #93.959 under the SAMHSA Center for
Substance Abuse Prevention, Region II Human Services, and the Nebraska DHHS Division of
Behavioral Health.

In total, 15 businesses were inspected. Three businesses sold alcohol to a minor for a non-
compliance rate of 20 percent. All of the businesses checked the minor’s ID.

The businesses which failed the inspections were:
Bella Italia – Cozad (checked ID, sold to minor)
El Paraiso – Cozad (checked ID, sold to minor)
Casey’s General Store #2068 – Lexington (checked ID, sold to minor)
The inspections were conducted at liquor stores, convenience stores, restaurants, and bars.
Businesses that sell alcohol to a minor are referred to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.
Clerks who sell alcohol to a minor are cited for procuring alcohol for a minor.
NSP and other law enforcement agencies conduct these inspections in an effort to keep alcohol
out of the hands of minors.


McCook Community College Volleyball Coach Hayley Kobza has signed two more players for the Lady Indians for this coming season – both Nebraska players and one from Kobza’s high school alma mater.

Middle Blocker Emily Barr of Hershey and Mackenzie Anderson of Ogallala, an outside hitter, both signed letters of intent to play volleyball in the fall at MCC.

ON WEDNESDAY, Barr, 5-10, signed her letter of intent.

“Emily is my first player that I have signed from my high school,” Kobza said. “We were both coached by Amy Beyer who just this season was given an award for coaching the Lady Panthers volleyball team for 30 years.

Bass spent four years on varsity for the Panthers.

“Emily is a player that is going to come in and make an immediate impact on our team,” Kobza said. “I feel this has a lot to do with her prior coaching from Coach Beyer.”

During her senior season bar had 270 kills, 47 blocks, 20 aces and 65 digs.

“Emily has great work ethics and I am excited to see what she can achieve in her two years here as a Lady Indian. “

ON FRIDAY, Kobza was in Ogallala to sign Mackenzie Anderson, the 5-8 outside hitter.

“Mackenzie comes from a high school program that is known for Coach Steve Morgan (has more than 900 career wins and 30 state appearances),” Kobza said.

During her senior year at Ogallala, Anderson had 234 kills, 33 blocks, 117 digs and 24 aces.

“Mackenzie is a versatile volleyball player and can play almost any position on the court,” Kobza said. “I see her coming in and playing a huge role on our 2019 tribe. “

Hayley Kobza


Bartley NE- Former Southwest Roughrider Ty Bennett has signed his letter of intent to continue his Football career at Wisconsin to play for the Ripon College Red Hawks an NCAA Division III School. The Red Hawks went 7-3 in 2018.  Bennett finished his career as a Roughrider finishing with a 2-6 record. View full interviews with Bennett and Southwest Head Football Coach Nick Brost.

Ty Bennett

Nick Brost

Kearney, Neb. – Second-ranked Northwest Missouri State shot 57 percent from the field and had three score in double figures to get past Nebraska-Kearney, 85-57, Thursday night at the Health & Sports Center.

The Bearcats improve to 18-0 (8-0) and to 8-1 all-time vs. the Lopers (6-12, 1-8). UNK handed Northwest a 66-59 loss last January at Buckle Court. 

Now 80-5 since the start of the 2016-17 season, Northwest came in ranked third in Division II in field goal percentage (53.1) and quickly showed why. The 'Cats went 19 of 30 (63.3 pct.) from the field in the first half including a 5 of 13 effort from behind the arc. They then made 7 of its first 10 shots to start the second half.

"When Justin Pitts (2017 D2 National Player of the Year) graduated last year everyone thought they may take a step back and become beatable. I like their team this year better than I did last year," said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. "They got shooters with size on the perimeter and you just can't leave them. We tried to limit the threes because they average 12 per game. But that opened up driving lanes and they took advantage."

A balanced attack included a game-high 23 points and five rebounds from senior wing Joey Witthus and 21 points and eight boards from freshman guard Diego Bernard. Another starter, sophomore forward Ryan Hawkins, went for 13 points and eight boards. 

"They're just a really good team. I don't think our kids played horrible but they made it seem that way because they are so good. Defensively nothing really worked. On penetration they would bring a guy in from the weak side and that's where Bernard got a lot of his baskets."

UNK made 46% (13 of 28) of its first half shots but went 1 of 7 from behind the arc. Getting out rebounded by a 37-20 margin, the Lopers did go 8 of 12 at the line and committed just 10 turnovers.

"We tried to establish ourselves inside early. We missed some opportunities around the basket and that takes the steam out of you," said Lofton.

Ten different Lopers scored with Kearney freshman Kanon Koster (14) and Aurora freshman Henry Penner (11) reaching double figures. Koster went 5 of 9 from the field with Penner having three of UNK's five triples. Finally, Alliance sophomore Austin Luger had seven points as the Loper bench outscored the Northwest reserves by a 37-17 margin.

UNK hosts Missouri Western State on Saturday afternoon. The Griffons (8-11, 2-6) lost its fourth straight game tonight at Fort Hays State, 84-74.

Kearney, Neb. -  Senior forward Lavon Hightower had 27 points and 11 rebounds to help Missouri Western State hold off Nebraska-Kearney, 83-79, Saturday evening at the Health & Sports Center.

With the win, the Griffons stop a four-game losing streak and improve to 9-11 (3-6) while the Lopers fall to 6-13 (1-9). Eight of UNK’s losses have come by a combined 37 points.

Averaging 18.8 points and 7.4 rebounds coming in, the 6-6, 205 pound Hightower reached his team-high point total by going 8 of 11 from the field (4 of 5 threes) and 7 of 10 at the line. Ten of his rebounds came at the defensive end and he also had four assists and two steals in the 37 minutes.

Mo West went on a 14-6 run to lead 79-71 with 2:57 left to play. This key spurt began with a three and ended with a three; the Griffs finished 8 of 21 from behind the arc.

MWSU seemingly had things sewn up as they were ahead 80-75 with 24 seconds remaining. However, junior guard Chase Winchester (DeSoto, Texas) made a free throw, rebounded an intentional miss on the second and found freshman Kanon Koster (Kearney) for a three from the top of the circle.

Hightower was quickly fouled at the 12 second mark and made the subsequent free throws to put his team up three. UNK then called timeout to setup a potential game tying play. However, an open three from the left wing taken by junior Kyle Juhl (Harlan, Ia.) hit iron and the Griffs grabbed the rebound.

“It worked out perfect as far as the look he got. Honestly, I didn’t think he would get that clean of a look because we had a small lineup in and I thought they would switch everything along the baseline. (Henry) Penner did something really smart … he slipped out of it and that caused two of their players to sit there and decided what they wanted to do. That give Kyle the look,” said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. “We’ll give to him again. I believe in Kyle and the shot just didn’t go in.”

UNK led 64-59 midway through the second half but Mo West responded with a 6-1 run to regain the lead. Millard South graduate Tyrell Carroll had a three point play and made another free throw to get the Griffs going. The freshman guard finished with 17 points, four dimes, four boards and three steals.

“We pressed a bit when we were ahead. Carroll got going and that and one was key for them. We had a couple of turnovers and maybe a bad shot during their run,” said Lofton.

Koster paced the Lopers with a season-high 31 points, nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and two of UNK’s season-best seven blocks. Going all 40 minutes he made 12 of 22 shots (3 of 5 threes) and 4 of 5 free throws. Finally, Koster grabbed two of the Lopers 11 offensive rebounds.

Back in December, he had 30 points in a home loss to Emporia State. Koster has now reached the 20-point mark four times this winter.

“I’ve got to give them credit. They had 12 offensive rebounds in the first half. It seemed like anytime it came off the rim they were able to grab it,” said Lofton. “We turned that around a bit in the second half but that (offensive rebounds) was their life blood in the first half. That and Hightower got it going.”

Next, Lincoln sophomore Sam Morris had a season-high 13 points thanks to five freebies and four buckets. Off the bench, Aurora freshman Henry Penner had six points, six rebounds and two assists.

Mo West won the battle on the glass by one, 38-37 while UNK shot a bit better from the field, 45-42 percent. Finally, the teams combined for just 13 turnovers.

Kearney, Neb. – Four players scored in double figures to help Nebraska-Kearney rally past Pittsburg State, 65-63, Saturday evening in Kansas.

The Lopers (8-14, 3-10) pick up its second road win of the year while the Gorillas (14-9, 7-7) drop a fifth straight game. Both teams were a bit short handed as Pitt was minus two starters, including guard Donovan Franklin (21.7 points per game), with UNK junior Kyle Juhl sidelined for most of the day with a shoulder ailment.

Pitt, also featuring senior guard Grant Lozoya (24.0 ppg), got out to a 31-17 lead 14 minutes into the action. UNK was just 1 of 13 from behind the three point line in the opening half but a zone defense and some work around the rim by sophomore post Weston Baker Magrath (Marshall, Minn.) made it just a seven-point hole, 36-29, by the break.

"I think our zone helped us get back in it. Once we got (the deficit) down by halftime, that kind of got us going and gave us a chance," said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. "Our zone really helped us all weekend. It got us back into it at Missouri Southern and it did the same thing today. We wanted to shortened the game  … we need it to be in the 60's and not the 70's or 80's."

UNK tied things up at 51 with 8:59 left after a bucket by junior forward AJ Jackson (Bellevue West). However, Pitt went ahead by four a few minutes later. The final 3:42 saw several lead changes with a triple from the top of the key by freshman Kanon Koster (Kearney) finishing the scoring. The game-winning bucket came at the 1:45 mark.

Pitt missed its last five shots, four of which were taken by Lozoya. With nine tenths of a second left, he managed to get off a corner three that clanked off the side of the backboard. Guarded by Jackson, Lozoya was limited to 12 points on 6 of 18 shooting (0 of 6 threes). The Lopers final 1:45 included a missed shot and turnover. Luckily, UNK didn't foul a lot and managed to take some time off the clock late with a couple of none-shooting fouls.

"We're very proud of our guys. Anytime you get a split on the road you take it and run," said Lofton.  "Pitt got off to a really good start and it looked like we were running in quick sand for a while."

Having a plus four rebounding margin, Kearney shot 42 percent from the field and was 9 of 11 at the line. Baker Magrath had 10 of his 12 points in the first half with Jackson tallying a team-best 17 on 7 of 10 shooting. He also went 3 of 3 at the line and has now scored 54 points in the last three games (18.0 avg.).

Next, Koster scored 13 as he hit two of UNK's four treys with Alliance sophomore Austin Luger coming off the bench to provide 14 points, five rebounds (three offensive) and two steals in just 21 minutes. The 14 points ties his career-high point total.

"Austin made a lot of really big plays. When you get the opportunity you have to be ready to make the most of it and he definitely did that today," said Lofton. "AJ did a good job guarding their best player and Weston did some good things early when we couldn't find the basket. He came alive around the rim and gave us some points when we desperately needed them."

Going 7 of 28 from behind the arc, Pitt was led by Sam Houston State (Texas) transfer Demetrius Levearity who had 23 points on nine made field goals (three triples). Lozoya, besides his point total, had eight assists and eight rebounds.

UNK hosts the Lincoln Blue Tigers Thursday night. LU (16-6, 9-4) lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri State today, 75-57.

Kearney, Neb. – Junior forward AJ Jackson scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to help Nebraska-Kearney beat Fort Hays State, 59-56, Saturday evening at the Health & Sports Center.

This was the 131st meeting between the two longtime rivals. UNK (7-13, 2-9) is now 6-8 in games decided by 10 points or less with Hays (13-7, 7-4) falling to 7-4 in such contests. Back in early December the Tigers posted a 76-73 win over the Lopers.

UNK's only deficit was at 2-0 but they never also led by more than 10 points. A plus six rebounding margin led to 13 second chance points as the Lopers led 33-27 at the break and 53-43 with 4:38 to play.

Forcing a couple of turnovers on inbounds plays, the Tigers went on a 10-4 run over the next four minutes to make things interesting. Down 57-53 with 18 seconds left and the ball, Hays missed a three but grabbed the offensive rebound. However, junior guard Chase Winchester (DeSoto, Texas) recorded a steal and two free throws salted things away. Guard Aaron Nicholson did sink about a 65 footer as the buzzer sounded to provide the final points.

Jackson (Bellevue West) was on point from opening tip and reached his offensive total by making 8 of 12 shots and 6 of 8 free throws. Having five offensive and five defensive rebounds, he also had an assist and one of UNK's five blocks. Jackson's previous career-high point total of 15 happened back in November at Wayne State and this is his second career double double. 

Next, Winchester came off the bench and went 3 of 4 from behind the arc to tally 11 with freshman Kanon Koster (Kearney) scoring 11 of his 13 in the second half. Finally, posts Weston Baker Magrath (Marshall, Minn.) and Carter Burns (Ankeny, Ia.) helped limit Hays forward Brady Werth in check. He came in averaging 16 points but was limited to 11 tonight on 5 of 14 shooting. He picked up two early fouls and logged 28 minutes. 

"Having played them once this year, we kind of know what to expect but you still have to go out and play. We came out and probably did a few things better this time around than at their place," said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. "We were able to beat a good team at home and we have a few more here we need to win."

Nicholson carried the Tigers early and finished with a team-high 15 points on 6 of 9 (3 of 4 threes) shooting. Reserve Devin Davis had 11 points and six boards in just 15 minutes while the Tigers finished the night 22 of 59 (37%) from the field.

UNK heads to Missouri Southern State and Pittsburg State next weekend.

Kearney, Neb. – Freshman Kanon Koster scored a team-high 26 points and Nebraska-Kearney took advantage of 23 turnovers and 10 offensive rebounds to upset Lincoln, 75-67, Thursday night at the Health & Sports Center.

The Lopers have won two in a row and three of four to improve to 9-14 (4-10). Amazingly, UNK has now been involved in 17 games decided by 10 points or less. On the other side of the court, the Blue Tigers fall to 16-7 (9-5) and to 6-3 on the road.

Behind 20 points from senior forward Terrance Smith, LU led most of the first half and by a 32-27 score the break. UNK hung around thanks to five o-boards, leading to eight points, and 10 Blue Tiger turnovers that turned into five more points.

Lincoln coughed up the ball six more times to start the second half, helping UNK go on a 13-7 run. The Blue Tigers briefly regained the lead at 41-40 but then a Koster layup, followed by a three from Alliance sophomore Austin Luger, put the Lopers up for good.

"I think our offense worked together tonight. Kanon wasn't doing a bunch of isolation to get his points. I thought it was out of the flow … we were getting ball reversals and had some really good assists there," said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. "Kanon had one late to AJ. That's the kind of play that makes you think the guys might be jelling a little bit.”

A three-point play by Bellevue junior AJ Jackson made it 64-52 with 4:15 to play but the Blue Tigers had one last run in them. A steal and dunk by junior guard Jonell Burton cut it to a four-point deficit, 71-67, with 40 seconds remaining. UNK handled the press and went 4 of 6 at the line to seal the deal.

Both teams made 26 field goals and seven threes. UNK got off 16 more shot attempts thanks to those 23 turnovers with Lincoln, normally a 77 percent free throw shooting team, going 8 of 14 at the line. Finally, Kearney ended up with 17 second chance points and 18 points off turnovers.

Individually, Koster went 9 of 14 (2 of 4 threes) from the field and 6 of 7 at the line to reach his point total. This is his fourth game of at least 25 points this season. Next, Iowa junior Kyle Juhl (11) and Texas junior Chase Winchester (nine) also sunk two threes apiece to combine for 20 points with Minnesota sophomore forward Weston Baker Magrath supplying eight points and six caroms. He had most of his production in the first half to keep UNK in it.

For Lincoln, Smith ended up with 30 points on 11 of 17 (3 of 5 threes) shooting. Going 5 of 8 at the line, he also had five rebounds, two dimes, a block and steal over 34 minutes. Burton (14) and reserve Amariontez Ivory (10) were the other Blue Tigers in double figures. Ivory came in averaging 14 points per game but didn't start for the first time this winter. He had 33 points in a win over UNK last February.

UNK hosts Lindenwood on Saturday afternoon. The Lions (12-14, 5-9) upset Fort Hays State tonight, 73-67.

Kearney, Neb. – Missouri Southern State was strong early and late to hold off Nebraska-Kearney, 72-67, Thursday night in Joplin.

The Lions (18-5, 9-4) improve to 11-0 at home while the Lopers fall to 7-14 (2-9) and to 2-6 in games decided by five points or less.

MSSU came in with four players standing at least 6-9 and 230 pounds. Due to injuries, two didn't go and another went just five minutes. One of the DNP's was sophomore Cam Martin (21.7 points & 8.9 rebounds per game).

The Lions adjusted to the lineup changes as they jumped out to a 28-8 lead seven minutes in. The Lopers did hit two early threes and then erupted for eight more over the next 13 minutes to trail by just a 43-42 score at the break. The 10 of 18 three point shooting is one of the best shooting stretches by UNK this season. MSSU overcame the 10 bombs by hitting eight of their own and grabbing 12 offensive rebounds. That strong board work led to 19 second chance points.

"That's a really good team. Their guards are tough and hard to stay in front of … the big guy (Enis Memic) was a force and he normally is the backup," said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. "They did a tremendous job with offensive rebounds. That was their life blood early in the game."

UNK managed a 7-4 o-board advantage in the second half and held the Lions to a 9 of 23 (39%) shooting effort from the field. Now a back and forth game, the Lopers went on an 11-2 run to open a 58-49 lead with 12:57 to play. This last UNK spurt featured two buckets by both Bellevue junior AJ Jackson and Lincoln sophomore Sam Morris. 

However, MSSU outscored UNK by a 20-2 margin over the next eight minutes. Kearney went 1 of 13 from the floor during this stretch along with five fouls and a turnover.

Down eight with 3:55 left, UNK took advantage of four turnovers to give itself a chance to tie the game at 70. Running the same play that almost worked to perfection against Missouri Western State, Iowa junior Kyle Juhl went to the left wing to setup for a three. However, it was ruled he stepped out of bounds coming off a baseline screen. MSSU hit two subsequent free throws to finish the scoring.

"It didn't look good early on but give it to our kids. They fought back and got themselves back in it," said Lofton. "But they scored in bunches and they were able to get it going midway through the second half. We really couldn't hold them off after that."

Plus 11 on the glass, MSSU got double doubles from the 6-9, 235 pound Memic (19 points & 15 rebounds) and 2018 All-MIAA pick Elyjah Clark (13 points & 10 rebounds) as well as 20 points from 6-4 junior guard Kinzer Lambert.

Juhl went 4 of 9 from behind the arc to lead UNK with 16 points. Coming off a career-high 22 points last Saturday, Jackson remained hot and tallied 15 with Aurora freshman Henry Penner going 3 of 4 from downtown to tally 11 off the bench. Finally, Kearney finished 11 of 30 from the three point line. The 11 makes are a season-high with the 30 attempts 10 shy of the school mark. 

"We had some really good looks (during that eight-minute stretch). The same looks we were getting in the first half but we just went ice cold," said Lofton. "We really weren't get anything around the basket with our post players. So we ended up taking a lot of jump shots."

UNK heads to Pittsburg State Saturday afternoon. The Gorillas (14-8, 7-6) lost tonight to Fort Hays State, 77-75.

Kearney, Neb. – Junior forward Kyle Juhl scored a career-high 23 points and Nebraska-Kearney closed on a 24-7 run to edge Emporia State, 59-53, Sunday evening in Kansas.

The Lopers (6-11, 1-7) win its first MIAA game and first road contest of the 2018-19 season. This also marks UNK's first win at White Auditorium since the 1986-87 campaign (32 years). Back then the Lopers and Hornets (7-9, 2-6) were Central States Intercollegiate Conference (CSIC) and NAIA members.

It was a slow and defensive struggle throughout with the teams combining for just 40 first half points. Both teams shot less than 28% in the opening half with E-State up 23-17.

Emporia held the lead for 32 minutes and was up 30-19, 44-33 and 46-35 in the second half. Down 11 with 7:11 left, UNK's big run started with a bucket by senior forward Carter Burns (Ankeny, Ia.) and then Juhl (Harlan, Ia.) took over. He hit three of his five made threes in a three-minute span to turn a seven-point deficit into a 48-46 lead with 2:16 left.

UNK wouldn't trial again as they went 10 of 12 at the line to keep the Hornets at bay. The Lopers finished 14 of 16 at the charity stripe, one of its best efforts of the year.

"I'm proud and happy for our guys. They've been pretty resilient all year but we weren't happy with the effort at Washburn (Wednesday) night and the film showed it. The kids stepped up and owned it," said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. "This was far from pretty, kind of like the first time we played them."

Juhl had 21 of UNK's 42 second half points as he finished 7 of 15 (5 of 12 threes) from the field and 4 of 4 at the line. He also had six defensive rebounds and no turnovers in 37 minutes.

"Kyle stepped up at the right time and got hot at the right time," said Lofton. "The funny thing is I had to beg him to start shooting. He had hit a couple in the first half and then he went cold. At a certain point in the second half he caught the ball and was open in front of our bench and I said 'shoot the ball.'  Luckily it went in and from then on he was pretty engaged."

Coming off the bench for the first time this winter, Kearney freshman Kanon Koster had 14 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Working around foul trouble he made 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch. Next, Bellevue junior forward AJ Jackson had six points and a career-best 13 rebounds (four offensive) with Burns providing six more caroms, four points, two assists and two blocks in just 15 minutes.

Both squads shot 33% from the field with UNK having a huge 47-28 advantage on the glass. That led to 15 second chance points wile E-State managed 16 points off of 17 Kearney turnovers.

"Kanon came in and got some big rebounds and was good at the line late, AJ was active and got his hands one some balls and Carter gave us some solid minutes. He communicates well on both ends of the court and that helps our guys out,” said Lofton.

The Hornets were led by Bellevue West graduate and Bowling Green State transfer Malik Hluchoweckyj. One of two ESU players in double digits, he had 16 points and four rebounds.

UNK hosts No. 2 Northwest Missouri State (17-0, 7-0) Thursday night. The Lopers stunned the Bearcats, 66-59, last January at the Health & Sports Center.

Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney softball team fell to Concordia-St. Paul, 5-4, and Minnesota State, 2-1, Saturday in St. Cloud, Minn.

The games were part of the annual Kelly Laas Memorial Invite inside the Husky Dome. On Friday, the Lopers fell to St. Cloud State, 9-1 (5 innings), and CSP, 3-2 (8 innings).

In round two with the Golden Bears Saturday morning, UNK hit three singles and took advantage of two walks and a two-out error to score three times in the second. The third hit in the inning was an RBI single by sophomore designated player Alexis Howe (Papillion-LaVista).

CU countered with a two spot in the top of the third and then tied things up in the fifth. The seventh inning featured a combined three runs on five hits, two walks and error. The Golden Bears, like they did in Friday's game, used a two-out rally to win. Three singles and a walk provided the winning margin with a single by cleanup hitter Aryka Knoche the big blow.

A two-out RBI single from sophomore catcher Karlee Arnold (Parker, Colo.) gave UNK hope and put runners at second and third in the bottom of the inning. CU issued a walk to load the bases and then a fly out to center ended the rally and game.

Leadoff hitter and left fielder Lauren Struebing (Kearney) went 4 for 4 with a run scored to pace the Lopers. Freshman shortstop Abbie Vodicka (Lincoln Pius) was 2 for 4 with a run from the nine hole with sophomore Sarah Handrahan (Festus, Mo.) and junior Erin Hallman (Lakewood, Colo.) combing for seven K's and three walks in the circle.

CU got eight K's and 6.2 innings from starting pitcher Samantha Sullivan with its top four hitters a combined 9 for 14 with five RBI's and five runs scored.

The weekend finale didn't get underway until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. The contest featured just three runs on 11 hits, four walks and two errors. MSU (3-1) used a leadoff walk and one-out double in the sixth to win. Freshman center fielder Carlee Liesch (Lincoln Pius) went 1 for 3 with an RBI single while Handrahan and redshirt freshman Mo Vornhagen (Kearney) combined for four K's and two earned on seven hits.

UNK gets next weekend off before heading to Bentonville, Ark., for the annual 8-State Classic.

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