By Ray Conner
The Kern Valley Broncs basketball team has started their summer basketball games.
Kern Valley played two games on June 12 versus Liberty (Madera) and Fresno Christian. The Broncs would drop both games. They were defeated by the Hawks of Liberty (Madera) 53-44. They followed that with a loss to the Eagles of Fresno Christian 55-37.
Summer game rules are two halves of 20-minute running clock. One made free throw is equal to two points.
In their game with the Hawks, Kern Valley was trailing after the opening 20 minutes 26-22. In the second half, Liberty added 27 points, while the Broncs matches their total of the first half.
Leading the way for the Broncs was Kaden Preston with 20 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Kieran McCarthy added eight points, while Davin Lee had seven with one made three-pointer.
Dakota Smith scored six points, while Lucas Harris hit once from behind the three-point arc for his three points in the contest.
On the boards, McCarthy grabbed six rebounds to lead the Kern Valley squad.
Harris, Preston and Carlos Martinez each had four boards, while Trey Bushling and Spencer Hansen each had three rebounds. Lee and Smith each pulled down a pair of boards.
Hansen dished out four assists to lead the Broncs in the unselfish department. Lee, Harris and Preston each had two assists, while McCarthy and Smith had one apiece.
Smith swatted away a pair of Hawks shot attempts, while Harris and Preston each were credited with one block.
Lee had three steals, Hansen had two and Bushling, McCarthy, Preston and Martinez each had one steal in the game.
Head coach Brian Christianson said, “We did not do a very good job of keeping stats on free throws, things were a little unorganized at the scorer’s table, which happens during the summer. Overall, a pretty good start to our summer games. We played pretty good defense early on, but didn’t have any help defense wise for about a 20 minute period of the game. We could do a better job passing the ball, and with our team rebounding. Overall, we played pretty good against the defending CIF Division 5 Central Section Champions.”
In game two, Kern Valley went up against a much bigger squad. They tried to hold their own, but in the end would drop the decision by a wide margin.
The Eagles of Fresno Christian opened an 18-point lead after the first half. The halftime score was 38-20. The offensive struggles for the Broncs continued in the second half as they managed just 17 points.
On the up side, the defense for Kern Valley improved as they limited the Eagles to just 17 points in the second half.
The leading scorer for the Broncs was Preston with 15 points. He dropped the lone three-point shot for Kern Valley. Smith finished with eight points, while McCarthy had six. Martinez scored four points, while Bushling and Lee each had two.
McCarthy was the team leader in rebounds with nine. Martinez grabbed seven boards, while Hansen and Harris each pulled down four rebounds. Preston and Smith had three boards, while Bushling had one rebound.
Lee handed out four assists to lead Kern Valley. Hansen recorded three assists, while Preston and Smith each had one.
Smith recorded a pair of blocks, while Martinez had one. Hansen and Lee each had two steals, while McCarthy and Preston each had one.
Christianson said, “We still need to do a better job of team rebounding, especially against a tall Fresno Christian team. We fell behind early by a lot (hard for us playing back-to-back games with no rest), but we really showed a lot of character by playing hard and staying in the game. Overall, I am encouraged by how we did today, still a lot to work though.”
The Broncs will continue to heat up in the summer in hopes of being very competitive when winter rolls around.