Naper High School Bears Boys Basketball

YearTeam Results *2ScoringNotesAccomplishments/Comments*2
(Won-Lost & Scoring)(Championships and Varsity Starters)
1930-1950Few Records Available (See footnote *A below)
1950-19516W-8LTeam averaged 26.6 points per game, Opponents 33.3(See footnote *B below)
1957-19585W-9LTeam averaged 43.9 points per game, Opponents 54.9*3Melvin Bentzen (AC), Ken Katzer (AC)
1958-19592W-10L*3Ken Katzer (AC)
1959-19608W-9LTeam averaged 41.6 points per game, Opponents 45.4*3Jim Sattler (AC)
1960-19613W-14L2nd District Tournament
1961-19623W-10L*3Dennis Wentz (AC)
1963-196410W-9LTeam averaged ? points per game, Opponents ?2nd District Tournament
(Lyle Graesser [C], Jerry Hoffman [C], Stanley Stahlecker, Clyde Vogt, & Jeff Hamling)
(Ray Vaughn - Coach)
1964-196510W - 5L Team averaged 60.0 points per game, Opponents 49.9(Stanley Stahlecker, Clyde Vogt, Jeff Hamling, Ed Peppel, & Bill Peppel)
(Ray Vaughn - Coach)
1965-196616W - 4L(105 points vs Fairfax, SD) *6
(Averaged 68.8 points per game, opponents 53.1) *5
(Ave Margin/Game: All + 15.7 points
Wins + 20.6 points
Losses - 3.5 points)
Lynch Invitational Tournament Champions
Championship: Naper 70 - Butte 67 (OT)
(Naper, Butte, Spencer, & Lynch)
Naper Invitational Tournament Champions
Championship: Naper 78 - Butte 64
(Naper, Butte, Ewing, & Stuart)
(Ed Peppel [C], Larry Ahlers [C], Jeff Hamling, Bill Peppel, & Stan McLaughlin)
(Ray Vaughn - Coach)
1966-196711W - 9L(Larry Ahlers - 39 points vs Geddes, SD; 30 points vs Fairfax
and 20 points per game average for season)
(Bill Peppel - 31 points vs Butte)
(Team averaged 57.1 points per game, opponents 52.8) *8
District Tournament Champions *7
Championship: Naper 51 - Butte 48
(Naper, Butte, Lynch, Stuart, Chambers, and Keya Paha County)
(Larry Ahlers [C], Bill Peppel [C], Dwaine Hoffman, Roger Ludemann, and Dennis Gentele or Wes Fuhrer)
(Ray Vaughn - Coach)
1970-19718W-5L(Gregg Honke, 30 points vs Geddes, SD) Team averaged 58.3 points per game, Opponents 54.2(Keith Fuhrer, Tim Keller, Gregg Honke, Joel Sieh, & Dennis Katzer)
(Ray Vaughn - Coach)
1971-197212W-6LTeam averaged ? points per game, Opponents ?(Gregg Honke, Doug Allpress, Jerry Schmitz, Eldon Vogt, & Steve Ahlers)
(Loris Shaffer - Coach)
1972-19738W-11L(Eldon Vogt - 42 points vs Stuart, and 36 points vs Geddes, SD)
(Steve Ahlers - 37 points vs Haigler, 37 points vs Lynch, 32 points vs Springview, and 32 points vs Fairfax,
and averaged 22.4 points per game points per game for season)
Team averaged 65.7 points per game, Opponents 67.1
Chadron State College Holiday Tournament
Consolation Bracket Champion (2W-1L)
(Steve Ahlers (AT), Eldon Vogt (AT), Barry Sieh, Del Fischer, & Rich Higgins)
(Loris Shaffer - Coach)
1977-19781W?2nd District Tournament
1978-19790W?*3Keith Cline (AC)
1979-19809W-9LTeam averaged 49.2 points per game, Opponents 48.6*3Butte Invitational Tournament Champions
Championship: Naper - 55, Butte - 45
(Naper, Butte, Spencer, & Lynch)
(Keith Cline, Willie Sieh, Randy Vogt, Jerry Klein, and Bryon Vogt, Lavern Higgins, Jeff Ulmer or Scott Neumiller)
(Coach - John Stankiewicz)
Keith Cline (AC)
1980-19810W?(Willie Sieh - 36 points vs Lynch)*3Willie Sieh (AC)
1982-19834W?(Mike Sieh - 30 points vs Clearwater, 34 points vs Spencer and 32 points vs Stuart)*3Mike Sieh (AC)

NOTE: Highlighted results are school performance records

[C] denotes Team Captain
(AT) denotes All Tournament Team
(AC) denotes All Conference Team

Documented evolution of most points scored in a game for Naper High School:
Bill Cerny, 1950-51, 18 points vs Butte > Russ Whitley, 1952-53, 23 points vs Spencer (BCT)> Ken Katzer, 1958-59, 27 points vs Lynch > Dennis Wentz, 1960-61, 29 points vs Burke >Larry Ahlers, 1966-67, 39 points vs Geddes, SD > Eldon Vogt, 1972-73, 42 points vs Stuart

*A - Very few records are available to document Naper High School's Basketball history in the 1930's and 1940's. The Butte Gazette/Spencer Advocate typically only carried stories about Butte and Spencer games. The one exception is the Butte/Spencer papers did a good job covering the Boyd County High School Basketball Tournament every year. Naper High School competed in the county tournament almost every year and almost always fared poorly in the tournament during the 1930's and 1940's leading to the conclusion NHS was not really competitive in basketball until the 1950's. NHS scores from 22 BCT games were found in the Butte Gazette from 1938 through 1950 with Naper winning 3 games and losing 19 (Naper did not send a team to the tournament in 1943 and forfeited the third place game in 1947 because of bad weather). The NHS team averaged just 18.4 points per game during this 13 year stretch with a high of 30 points (30-34 loss to Lynch in 1940) and a low of 5 points (5-52 point loss to Butte in 1950 where NHS did not score in first half). NHS also had one BCT game in 1942 where Spencer scored the first 30 points of the contest in a 10-65 Naper loss. Naper's three BCT wins were 19-17 over Lynch for third place in 1945 with no points scored by either team in the final quarter, a 15-14 overtime win over Lynch in the third place game in 1941, and a 25-11 win over Anoka in 1939 (with losses to Butte and Bristow in the same tournament). It certainly was a different time and a much different game back then! Naper didn't really make a splash in the BCT until 1953 when they beat Butte 44-43 and then lost the Championship game to Spencer 43-48 (Russ Whitley scored 19 & 23 points respectively in the two tournament games with his 42 points second most by any player from the four schools in the tournament.) [See footnote *4 below for more about the BCT.]

*B - The 1950-51 team appears to have recorded the most wins ever by NHS up to that point in time with 6 wins over Naper Town Team, Verdel (twice), Newport, Butte, & Spencer to start the season 6-3. NHS lost to Dallas, Bonesteel, Newport and their last five games to Spencer (17 to 42 in BCT), Butte (28 to 43 in BCT with Bill Cerny scoring 16 points)), Dallas (Gary Jeffords 17 points), Butte (Bill Cerny 18 points), and Spencer (Gary Jeffords 13 points). Naper's team averaged 26.6 points per game and their opponents 33.3 for the season.

*1 - Naper competed in boys basketball from the 1930's until the high school closed after the 1987-1988 school year. According to the NSAA records Naper never qualified for the Nebraska High School Boys State Basketball Tournament. Spencer-Naper qualified for the State Basketball Tournament nine times from 1989 through 2007 winning the State D-1 title in 2002 & 2003 and finishing Runner-up in 2001 (D-1), 2006 (D-2) and 2007 (D-2). Championship game winning scores: Spencer-Naper 67, Scribner-Snyder 54 (2002) and Spencer-Naper 32, Howells 31 (2003). (See>Basketball>History&Records)

*2 - Results compiled from the Naper High School "Bear Facts" yearbooks 1951 and 1955-1988, from available Naper High School "Bear Tracks" monthly newspapers, local newspaper stories (e.g. Bonesteel Enterprise, Butte Gazette/Spencer Advocate), from NHS Alumni, and from Gary Hostert (Butte High School Class 1984).

*3 - Naper competed in the Niobrara Valley Basketball Conference most years the conference was active except 1963-64 through 1969-1970 when Naper had no conference affiliation for basketball (Rosebud Conference for football only).

*4 - The Boyd County Basketball Tournament was held from 1938 through 1961 and resumed in 1981. Teams from Naper (except 1943 and after 1988), Butte, Spencer, Lynch, Bristow (through 1942), and Anoka (through 1940) participated in the tournament annually. Anoka beat Bristow 30 - 21 to win the first Boyd County Tournament then Butte, Spencer or Lynch won every BCT from 1939 through 1961. Naper was runner up to Spencer in 1953 and 1958 but never won the tournament. Spencer-Naper won the BCT in 1989, 1991-1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000-2003, and 2005-2007. Teams from outside the county were added to the tournament after Naper closed in 1988. [Special thanks to Gary Hostert for providing the results of every BCT.]

*5 - The 1965-66 team featured a balanced scoring attack with each of the five starters regularly scoring in double figures and no starter averaging more than 15 points per game for the season. (Double figure games/high game & Opponent/approximate per game average): Ed Peppel (14/22 vs Atkinson St. Joe/14), Jeff Hamling (12/25 vs Springview/13), Stan McLaughlin (10/27 vs Butte/10), Larry Ahlers (16/20 vs Butte in Lynch Invitational championship game/14), Bill Peppel (5/18 vs Long Pine/7).

*6 - Final Score: Naper - 105, Fairfax - 42. The 63 point margin representing Naper's all-time best. The Bonesteel Enterprise newspaper article covering this game stated "the Bears used ten players in the varsity game with the reserves playing most of the contest. For the Bears Ron Blezek topped the game scoring with 22."

*7 - Naper lost to Hartington 60-59 in the first round of the 1967 Regional Tournament at Neligh

*8 - The 1966-67 team individual scoring (Double figure games/high game & opponent/approximate per game average): Larry Ahlers (17/39 vs Geddes/20), Bill Peppel (13/31 vs Butte/13), Roger Ludemann (7/28 vs Butte in District Championship game/10), Dwaine Hoffman (8/25 vs Fairfax/10), Dennis Gentele (2/20 vs Fairfax/unknown), Wes Fuhrer (1/10 vs Stuart/unknown).

Any comments, suggestions, corrections etc should be directed to Stan McLaughlin at

Updated January 11, 2023