Boys close season with loss to Custer

Esther Noe
For the third time this season, the Hill City High School Ranger boys basketball team faced off against the Custer Wildcats Feb. 27. This time it was for the Class A Region 8 Quarterfinal. 
The Wildcats took an early lead, but the Rangers stayed in the game. The teams tied at 16 each at the end of the first period. 
In the second quarter, the Rangers took their biggest lead of the game at 25-19. However, the Wildcats took the lead back and ended halftime at 39-36 in favor of Custer. 
Head coach Laramie Harvey said, “Unfortunately, we came up short against Custer. The third quarter was the turning point. They came out of the half and were able to build on their lead.”
The Wildcats outscored the Rangers 18-6 in the third quarter. 
In the end, the Wildcats won 67-53. Devin Buehler scored 24 points and Zane Messick scored 12 points for the Rangers. 
When reflecting on the season as a whole, Harvey said, it was a “great group of kids. I think we have learned a lot about ourselves. Hopefully what we learned can steer us in the right direction this offseason.” 
Three seniors are saying farewell to the basketball team this year including Brandon Ramirez, Ian Jorgensen and Erick Jorgensen. 
“In three years of coaching Brandon, no one worked harder. It’s hard for people who are not at practice to understand how hard Brandon works,” Havey said. “The beautiful thing about Brandon is it’s not just a part-time thing. His effort is maximum and constant. Brandon is a leader by example. I hope our returners learned something from Brandon. Brandon will be missed.”
“Ian completed his third season of high school basketball. During the last three years, no one in the Ranger basketball program has improved more than Ian. As much as Ian’s improvement as a player excites me, I am more excited and prouder of the maturity and growth that Ian has displayed over the last three years. We will miss Ian,” Harvey said. 
“Erick, more or less, played in two and a half games this season,” Harvey said. “In one of those games, we were able to beat Hot Springs, the number one team in Region 8A. We were the only team in our region to beat Hot Springs this year.
“Erick’s season was short lived because of injury; he tore his ACL. After completing 17-1/2 games without Erick, it was eye-opening what difference Erick made when he was on the court. I wish Erick would have been able to enjoy the ride of his senior season on the court with his teammates instead of on the bench in a brace. Credit to Erick for staying positive and being a great teammate after his injury. Erick plans to attend and play basketball for Dakota Wesleyan in Mitchel. We are excited to see Erick grow on and off the court at Dakota Wesleyan.”
That wraps up the 2023-24 season for the Hill City High School Ranger boys basketball team. 
Custer 16 19 18 14 —67
HC 16 14 6 17 —53
Custer—Ayden Petz 1-1 0-0 2, Cade Lehman 6-11 2-2 18, Rhett Lowe 3-5 0-0 8, Brady Virtue 1-1 1-4 3, Cody Dirkes 1-2 4-4 6, Drew Lehman 0-2 0-2 0, Kyle Virtue 9-15 4-5 22, Roland Sedlacek 2-5 2-2 6, Carter Boyster 0-4 2-4 2. Totals: 23-46 15-23 67.
Hill City—Everett Sullivan 2-5 1-1 6, Devin Buehler 10-21 2-2 24, Zane Messick 5-13 0-2 12, Alex Stoeckmann 2-14 1-2 5, Jerrad Hislop 0-1 0-0 0, Brensen Veneklasen 1-1 0-0 2, Ian Jorgensen 2-6 0-0 4.
Three-point goals: Custer 6 (Cade Lehman 4, Lowe 2), HC 5 (Buehler 2, Messick 2, Sullivan). Rebounding: Custer 43 (Sedlacek 9, K. Virtue 7, Lowe 7), HC 20. Steals: Custer 8, HC 13. Assists: Custer 13, HC 12. Turnovers: Custer 24, HC 10. Total fouls: Custer 13, HC 21. Fouled out: none.

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