By Ray Conner
The varsity Broncs began their season with an exciting overtime game with the Crusaders of Immanuel Christian.
Making the trip to Ridgecrest to play against the Crusaders, Kern Valley played tough and battled all the way. In the end it would be the Crusaders claiming the 64-58 victory.
Foul trouble plagued the Broncs as they had three players foul out and two others playing with four. Despite the adversity, they would play hard and stay in the game. As a team they were called for 28 fouls in the contest.
The two teams took the court and were evenly matched as they both scored 11 points to begin the game. At the break the Crusaders enjoyed a 23-20 margin as they added 12 points to their total.
Kern Valley managed just nine points but, they knew they were in the game.
Coming out for the second half the Broncs exploded for 16 points to grab the lead. The defense stepped up and stuffed the Crusaders, allowing them eight points. As the teams headed to the fourth, the Broncs were ahead 36-31.
In the fourth quarter the two teams battled. At one point with four minutes to go the Broncs were comfortably ahead by 12. Down the stretch they went cold from the free-three line as they managed to hit two of nine. The Crusaders worked their way back into the game and when the buzzer sounded the scoreboard was even at 53-53. In the overtime, the Broncs offense went cold as they managed just five points. Immanuel Christian responded with 11 points to send the Broncs home saddled with a loss.
Kaden Preston led Kern Valley in scoring as he dropped in 24 points. He hit twice from long-distance, and was 4-of-7 from the charity stripe.
Davin Lee added 10 points, while Anthony Barton finished with nine points, including sinking a three-pointer. Ryan Walker had eight points, including a three-pointer, while Dakota Smith finished the scoring with three points.
On the boards, Barton pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the squad. Walker and Smith each had six boards, while Preston grabbed four rebounds. Lucas Harris was credited with a pair of rebounds, while Tanner Tito and Lee each had one rebound.
Lee dished out seven assists to lead Kern Valley. Walker, Preston and Barton recorded two assists apiece, while Tito and Spenser Hansen had one each.
Harris swatted away a pair of Crusaders shot attempts, while Tito had one block. Lee and Walker led the team in steals with three apiece. Tito and Preston finished with one steal each.
Head coach Brian Christianson said, “I thought we came out and played hard. Obviously, fouls hurt us, some were just being aggressive, while others were somewhat foolish, something that will stop as we get more games in. Overall, we are disappointed with the loss, but we are encouraged with how hard we play, and know that we can clean up our mistakes.”
Up next for the Broncs will be competing in the 10th Annual Golden Bears Tip Off Classic at Sierra Pacific on Thursday and Friday.