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

​These players put their skills on display all high school season. Meet The World-Herald's 2019 All-Nebraska boys and girls basketball teams, captained by Omaha Central's John Tonje and South Sioux City's McKenna Sims.

Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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