Broncs gain experience at tourney

Photo by Donna Harris / Freelance Photographer
Kaden Preston No. 11 of the Broncs lifts a shot in the Golden Bear Tournamnent held in Hanford.
Photo by Donna Harris / Freelance Photographer
Davin Lee No. 20 of the Broncs gets to the basket in the Golden Bear Tournament held in Hanford. Teammate, Kaden Preston No. 11 watches the action.

By: Ray Conner
Sports Editor

Kern Valley continued their non-league season with games in the 10th Annual Golden Bear Tip Off Classic.

The tournament was held in Hanford at Sierra Pacific High School.
While the Broncs did not pick up any victories, they got valuable experience on the court playing tougher teams. They began the tournament on Dec. 4 when they faced off with Mira Monte.

The Lions got off to a hot start, while the Broncs struggled to find their offense. Mira Monte scored 21 points in the first quarter. Kern Valley managed just seven points to fall into a heavy deficit early in the game.

In the second quarter the Lions continued to drop in buckets as they put up another 18 points. Kern Valley found a little spark and scored 11 points to make the halftime score 39-21.

In the second half, Kern Valley added 25 points, while the Lions poured in 36 to easily take the game 75-43.

Broncs scoring: Kaden Preston 8, Ryan Walker 6, Shelton Alley 5, Kieran McCarthy 5, Dakota Smith 5, Trey Bushling 4, Davin Lee 4, Spencer Hansen 3, Lucas Harris 3.

Rebounding: Walker 8, Preston 7, Smith 7, Harris 4, Hansen 3, Bushling 3, Lee 3, McCarthy 3, Jeffrey Cawein 2, Tyler Strange 1.
Assists: Hansen 1, Bushling 1, Lee 1, Walker 1, Harris 1, Strange 1, Smith 1.
Blocks: Smith 2
Steals: Hansen 4, Bushling 2, Lee 2, Walker 2, Strange 1.

Head coach Brian Christianson said, “We came out and did not play with the intensity needed to play a varsity basketball game. It was good to go against Mira Monte’s style of play.”

Game two the following day pitted Kern Valley against Coalinga. The Horned Toads turned up the defensive intensity in the second quarter to push them to the 53-42 win. Playing against a much taller team collectively, the Broncs managed to battle, but could not overcome the huge gap from the second quarter.

It was close after the first quarter as the teams combined for 27 points. The Broncs held the slight lead at 15-12. Then came the second quarter and the Broncs struggled. They were limited to just five points. Coalinga dropped in 16 points to open the 28-20 lead. Despite playing close in the second half it would prove to be too much. Coalinga scored 25 second half points, while Kern Valley had 22 points.

Broncs scoring: Kaden Preston 12 (3-three-pointers), Hansen 9 (2-three-pointers), Harris 8, Lee 4, Walker 4, Smith 3, Alley 2.
Rebounding: Preston 8, Smith 5, Walker 4, Harris 4, Lee 3, Alley 2, Hansen 1.
Assists: Harris 3, Hansen 2, Lee 2, Bushling 1, Alley 1, Smith 1.
Blocks: Harris 1, Smith 1
Steals: Lee 8, Hansen 5, Preston 2, Walker 2, Harris 2.

Christianson said, “We did a very good job against a very tall Coalinga team that goes, 6’6”, 6’5”, and 6’4.”

Great experience for our team this early in the season. We did a good job of competing today. We just need to be more consistent on offense.”

The next trip to Hanford matched Kern Valley with Orosi. This game was a battled in the first half as neither team could get any separation. The Cardinals of Orosi scored 15 points to begin the game, while Kern Valley responded with 14 points. In the second, Orosi added 12 points, while the Broncs scored 10. The halftime score was set at 27-24 for the Cardinals.

As the teams came back from the break, it was the Cardinals that found the chance to get away from their opponents. Orosi poured in 19 points to begin the second half. Kern Valley could only muster five points to trail 46-29 after three quarters.

In the fourth the teams combined for just 15 points. The Broncs scored six, while Orosi had nine points to send Kern Valley to the loss. The final score favored the Cardinals 55-35.

Kern Valley scoring: Preston 11 (1-three-pointer), Harris 10 (2-three-pointers), Alley 6 (2-three-pointers), Walker 3 (three-pointer), Lee 2, Bushling 1, McCarthy 1, Smith 1.
Rebounding: Harris 10 (double-double), Walker 10, Cawein 5, Lee 4, Smith 4, Preston 2, Bushling 2, Hansen 1.
Assists: Lee 6, Hansen 1, Walker 1.
Blocks: Preston 1, Harris 1, Cawein 1.
Steals: Hansen 5, Lee 5, Harris 2, Walker 1, Cawein 1, Smith 1.

In their final game of the tournament, the Broncs squared off with Madera South. This game was a battle as the teams were consistent in their scoring. In the end it was the Stallions of Madera South that rode off with the victory.

The Stallions scored 15 points in the first quarter, while Kern Valley stayed close with 11 points. Kern Valley came back to knot the score at 26-26 when the first half came to an end. This time it was the Broncs with 15 points, and Madera South with 11 points.

The Stallions broke from the gate in the second half as they opened a six-point cushion after three. Madera South scored 12 points in the third, while the Broncs managed just six. Trailing 38-32 heading to the fourth, the Broncs had work to do. Kern Valley was trailing by 12 points with just over three minutes to play. They dug deep and rallied to have a chance at the end. A potential tying three-point shot late in the game just missed the mark and the game went to the Stallions.

Kern Valley managed to outscore the Stallions in the fourth, but it was not enough. The Stallions came away with the 48-45 win.

Broncs scoring: Alley 11 (three-pointer), Lee 10, Preston 9, Harris 9 (three-pointer), Hansen 4, Smith 2.
Rebounding: Alley 11 (double-double), Harris 9, Smith 7, Hansen 3, Bushling 3, Preston 2, Walker 1, Cawein 1.
Assists: Lee 5, Hansen 4, Preston 3, Smith 2, Harris 1.
Blocks: Preston 2, Harris 2.
Steals: Lee 6, Preston 3, Hansen 3, Smith 3, Harris 2, Alley 2.

Christianson said, “This was a good game defensively for us. We still need to be more consistent. Overall, we played some good teams in this tourney, and that will help us down the line.”

The Broncs will go on the road once more to compete in the Corcoran Tournament today. They will play through Saturday.

This will be the final tune up before Kern Valley begins High Desert League action versus Desert on Dec. 20.