Niemeyer helps Colo-NESCO clip Warriors, 56-54

MESKAWKI SETTLEMENT – Brandyn Niemeyer’s confidence has been up and down lately.

It just wasn’t apparent Tuesday.

Overcoming some recent shooting struggles, Niemeyer poured in a game-high 31 points, 10 rebounds and four assists to propel the Colo-NESCO boys’ basketball team past Meskwaki 56-54 in an Iowa Star Conference contest Tuesday.

“Brandyn is a player – simple as that,” Colo-NESCO coach Patrick Wynja said. “He’s been struggling of late with his confidence, but he’s been working on it. He’s finally learning to move on from a missed shot and tonight he played really well.”

The senior scored 14 of the Royals’ final 23 points including four free throws to put Colo-NESCO ahead for good. Niemeyer’s last two gave the visitors a four-point cushion before Corey Dye countered with a 3-pointer to pull Meskwaki within 55-54 with 28 seconds left. Jake Webb made 1-of-2 at the stripe and Tyus Grant’s potential game-winner was off the mark as the Royals held on.

Finding his stroke quickly Niemeyer buried a trey to give Colo-NESCO (13-9, 11-5) its largest lead at 20-12 early in the second quarter before Meskwaki pulled back within three by halftime.

Slowing the Royals with their active 2-3 zone, the Warriors (11-11, 7-9) opened the third with a 16-6 spurt. Royce Timberwolf’s triple punctuated the rally as Meskwaki seized a 40-33 advantage with 2:55 left in the quarter.

Wynja, who felt his squad’s effort has been sporadic recently, noticed a dip as the Warriors made their run.

“That’s the biggest thing we’ve been working on,” Wynja said.

“We’ve lost our effort level the past few games and we had a spurt where we kind of lost it again tonight.”

On cue with Niemeyer’s late scoring surge, the Royals ratcheted up their intensity in the fourth. Niemeyer hit a three to lock the score at 47 with just over five minutes to go as Meskwaki missed three of their next five free throws to leave the door open for Colo-NESCO.

Brady Stoeffler added 10 points including three treys, while Adam Lytle had six points and seven rebounds. Cordell Bear paced the Warriors with 17 points and Royce Timberwolf had 11. Darrion Murray tallied eight.

“Overall I’m happy with every kid that played tonight,” Wynja said.

“When it got to crunch time, we made some plays and looked good down the stretch.”

Meskwaki faces Montezuma on the road Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in a Class 1A District 7 second round contest. The Royals host GMG Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in District 8 play.