Published Friday, February 8, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:23 pm
Thunderbirds' twin towers too much for rival Yutan

YUTAN, Neb. — Justin Damme and Nate Kuhl were virtually unstoppable Friday night in ending a two-game losing streak for Johnson County.

The 6-foot-10 Damme scored 32 points, including 17 in the third quarter, by making 15 of 19 shots in the Thunderbirds' 62-47 win over East Central Nebraska Conference rival Yutan.

Kuhl, 6-8, connected on all seven shot attempts and went 8 of 10 at the line for 22 points. The rest of Johnson County's team accounted for eight points.

“Damme showed up and played,” Yutan coach Andy Timm said. “We came in wanting to stop Kuhl, and that didn't happen either.”

Class C-2 No. 4 Johnson County (19-3) lost in overtime to Freeman last Saturday in the ECNC tournament final, then fell 76-49 at Lincoln Christian on Tuesday.

“We bounced back well,” Johnson County coach Chris Hutt said. “It was just a bad night at the office against Lincoln Christian.”

The win kept the Thunderbirds in contention in the Class C-2 point standings. They are in a subdistrict opposite No. 1 Sutton and No. 3 Freeman.

Before the two losses, Johnson County was sitting third. Friday's win lifts them from seventh to fifth.

Damme scored only eight points last week when Johnson County beat Yutan in the ECNC semifinals. He had 11 by halftime in the rematch.

The twin towers tallied the Thunderbirds' first 19 points before 6-5 sophomore Michael Purcell made a 3 with 4:09 left in the first half that gave Johnson County a double-digit lead for good.

Damme, going repeatedly to a left-handed bank shot from the left block, went 8-for-8 in the third quarter.

Yutan's Nate Fisher tried to keep up, scoring 13 points on two 3s, a 3-point play and two more baskets, but the Thunderbirds added six points to their halftime lead for a 50-33 cushion going to the fourth quarter.

Nick Josoff, who had gone scoreless in the ECNC tournament game, had nine of his 14 points in the final quarter for the Class C-2 No. 10 Chieftains (17-5).

They shot just 34 percent (17 of 50) and were 8 of 26 on 3s.

“Their height gives us problems on offense,” Timm said. “Their long arms affect your shots. We needed to shoot better.”

Johnson County was 25 of 41 from the field (61 percent).

Johnson County (19-3) ................. 12 14 24 12—62
At Yutan (17-5) ................. 6 9 18 14—47

JC: Mitch Faris 2-5 0-0 5, Kyle Laug 0-0 0-2 0, Nate Kuhl 7-7 8-10 22, Danny Fritsch 0-2 0-0 0, Justin Damme 15-19 1-1 32, Grant Badertscher 0-4 0-0 0, Cole Beethe 0-1 0-1 0, Seth Laver 0-1 0-0 0, Michael Purcell 1-2 0-0 3, Ryan Teten 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-41 9-14 62.

Y: Jacob Peitzmeier 1-9 0-0 2, Nate Fisher 7-13 3-3 20, Nick Josoff 4-12 2-2 14, Kole Liermann 1-1 0-0 2, Malcolm Bussen 0-1 0-0 0, Danny Greblunas 1-2 0-0 3, Matt Oviatt 3-9 0-0 6, Gabe Arlt 0-2 0-0 0, Colton Leal 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-50 5-5 47.

3-point goals: JC 3-12 (Faris 1-3, Fritsch 0-2, Damme 1-3, Badertscher 0-2, Purcell 1-2), Y 8-26 (Peitzmeier 0-4, Fisher 3-6, Josoff 4-12, Greblunas 1-2, Oviatt 0-1, Arlt 0-1). Total fouls: JC 8, Y 17. Fouled out: Fisher, Greblunas. Technicals: none. Turnovers: JC 13, Y 12. Rebounds: JC 27 (Damme 8), Y 22 (Fisher 7). Field-goal percentage: JC .610, Y .340. Free-throw percentage: JC .643, Y 1.000. A: 600 (est.)

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Contact the writer: Stu Pospisil    |   402-444-1041    |  

Stu Pospisil has been The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports since 1990 and for golf since 1988. He primarily covers football in the fall, basketball and wrestling in the winter and track and field in the spring.

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