Broncs close out summer basketball games

Photo by Donna Harris / Freelance Photographer; Dakota Smith No. 44 of the Broncs goes up high to snatch a rebound in the summer basketball game against Sierra.

By Ray Conner
Sports Editor

The Broncs summer basketball squad got badgered when they took on Yosemite.

Playing in Madera at Liberty High School, Kern Valley faced off against the Yosemite Badgers. A slow start on the offensive side put Kern Valley in a hole they could not climb out of. They took a 20-point loss in the contest.

The Broncs were limited to just 13 points in the first of two 20-minute running clock halves. Yosemite poured in 29 points in the first half to take a commanding lead.

The second half was much closer as Kern Valley started to find the range and dropped in 21 points. The Badgers added 25 to take the game 54-34.

Kaden Preston topped the scoring chart for the Broncs with nine points. He hit once from behind the three-point arc. Davin Lee finished with eight points, while Lucas Harris and Ryan Walker each scored six points. Harris’ points all came from long-distance as he hit twice from behind the three-point line. Dakota Smith scored three points, while Anthony Barton capped the scoring for the Kern Valley squad with two points.

On the boards, Smith pulled down eight rebounds to lead the Broncs. Preston and Barton each grabbed five boards, while Walker and Lee had a pair of boards. Harris and Brayden Liberio recorded one rebound apiece in the game.

Lee handed out six assists to lead the Broncs in that department. Walker recorded a pair of assists, while Preston and Liberio had one assist each.

Smith recorded the lone block in the game for Kern Valley. Walker and Lee had a pair of steals, while Harris had one steal.

Head coach Brian Christianson said, “The lay off between summer games hurt us, as we started slowly. We were too tentative against the taller Badgers.”

Back on the court the same day, Kern Valley took on the Chieftains of Sierra. Once again the Broncs got off to a slow start and could not recover. They trailed by ten after the first half 24-14.

The second half was very similar as the Chieftains put in 26 points and the Broncs finished with 13 points. The final score favored Sierra 50-27.

Harris led the team in scoring with seven points, including hitting once from three-point land. Smith finished with six points, while Walker had five. Barton scored four, while Liberio and Lee each had two points. Preston closed out the scoring with one point.

Barton was chairman of the boards as he grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. Smith pulled down nine boards, while Walker had five rebounds. Lee finished with a pair of boards, while Liberio had one rebound in the game.

Photo by Donna Harris / Freelance Photographer; Kaden Preston No. 23 of the Broncs drives around his Yosemite opponents as he tries to get to the basket.

Lee dished out six assists to lead the team in unselfish play. Preston handed out a pair of assists, while Walker and Smith each had one.

Walker was credited with three blocks, Barton swatted away two, and Preston and Lee each had one block.

Lee finished with five steals to lead the Broncs. Walker recorded three steals, while Preston and Barton had one steal apiece.

Christianson said, “I would just like to see the whole team buy into playing defense and rebounding the ball. Too many players seem to think that scoring is the only thing that matters.” He went on to say, “Overall, we had a very successful summer. Our players got a lot of valuable experience. Big thanks to Wallace and South Fork for allowing us to have ‘open gym’ basketball at their gyms. We had huge numbers of people participating this year—our numbers at Wallace were usually 25-30 and at South Fork about 25. I am excited for the season to start in November.”

Playing their last games of the summer will help the Broncs when the regular season rolls around. The coach and players are hoping this turns into getting back on top.

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