Saturday night in Howells, there couldn’t have been many dry eyes. Three days after his father died from a rare brain cancer, Howells-Dodge sophomore RJ Bayer scored a career-high 32 points in a 72-38 win over Plainview.
“When RJ told me he wanted to play tonight, all I could think was it would be nice for him to have a big game to honor his late father,” Jaguars coach Kevin Janata said. “RJ is about as unselfish as they come, so I only suggested to the rest of the team that we try and make sure RJ has a good game, try to feed him the ball early and get him some points and back into the flow after being away from the team.
“The boys, however, took it to another level, playing unselfish basketball, setting screens, and feeding RJ the ball down low early and often. They all shared in his success and fed off his energy. It was an emotional night and it was great to see the team rally around their teammate. RJ was awarded the game ball after the game as he was embraced by the rest of his team.”
Ryan Bayer, 40, died Wednesday in Fremont. He farmed and ran an insurance agency with partners.
Survivors include wife Jamie and four children, RJ the oldest. The funeral Mass is 10:30 a.m. Monday at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Howells.
Meet the five boys and five girls selected to The World-Herald's 2019 All-Nebraska basketball teams
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After one of her worst games, Millard North’s Lauren West capped her varsity career with perhaps her best. The 5-foot-11 senior is the honorary captain of the All-Metro Conference girls basketball team. West was a third-team selection last year but earned her first-team spot by helping Millard North finish 23-4.
Jack Dotzler turned a major break into a minor bump for Omaha Roncalli’s special season. The Crimson Pride didn’t know how long they would be without their junior point guard after he broke his left wrist during the Class B football playoffs.
Volleyball season didn’t end the way Wahoo Neumann’s Kelsie Cada hoped. But her perseverance paid off during basketball season, which ended with the Cavaliers cutting down the nets.
World-Herald prep recruiting specialist Mike Sautter and The World-Herald's Jake Anderson discussed the latest Nebraska high school sports news in the latest episode of the Nebraska Prep Zone Report.