By: Ray Conner
The Kern Valley varsity basketball squad was able to escape the weather and play in a holiday tournament.
The Broncs mustered up the courage to gallop their way over hills and valleys to make their way to Vista, California to play in the 34th Annual Tri-City Christian Holiday Classic.
There were 16 teams in the tournament, with many a step up from Kern Valley Division wise.
With the weather trying to disrupt their plans, they left the valley at 5 a.m. to battle the elements over Walker Pass. With the snow threatening all the way to Lancaster, the Broncs trouped on and made their way. Their first game was scheduled for 12:30 p.m. With the long drive to play at Oceanside High School the weary Broncs took the court.
They could never shake off the effects and were soundly defeated 77-25 by St, Margaret’s.
The Broncs could never wake up and found themselves out of this one early.
They trailed 23-5 after one quarter and 51-5 at the break.
In the second half they were able to find some offense and scored 20 points, but St. Margaret’s cruised to the victory.
Kern Valley scoring: Shelton Alley 10 (three-pointer), Trey Bushling 6, Lucas Harris 5, Kaden Preston 2, Ryan Walker 2.
Rebounding: Spencer Hansen 4, Walker 3, Preston 2, Harris 2, Bushling 1, Alley 1, Tyler Strange 1, Kieran McCarthy 1.
Assist: Hansen 2, Bushling 2, Harris 1, McCarthy 1.
Blocks: Walker 1, McCarthy 1.
Steals: Hansen 3, Bushling 2, Alley 1.
Head coach Brian Christianson said, “This was a game that we just never got into. We were flat from the very beginning. Obviously, we did pick it up in the second half. It was a tough game to play after such a long drive. St. Margaret’s was playing just 20 minutes down the road at San Juan Capistrano.”
Game two pitted the Broncs against the Oceanside Pirates. Kern Valley fell behind early and never managed to overcome the Division 2 Pirates of Oceanside.
The final score saw Oceanside win 63-12 as the Broncs offense struggled through another game against a tougher opponent.
The Broncs fell behind 19-2 after the opening quarter. By the time halftime rolled around they were looking at a 43-8 deficit.
The second half was more the same as Kern Valley was limited to four points in the third and nothing in the fourth. The Pirates scored 10 in the third and finished it off with 10 in the fourth.
Broncs scoring: Walker 6, Bushling 2, Jefferey Cawein 2, Alley 1, McCarthy 1.
Rebounds: Bushling 4, Hansen 2, Walker 2, McCarthy 1.
Assists: Preston 1, Hansen 1.
Blocks: Walker 2, Hansen 1, Bushling 1, Harris 1, McCarthy 1.
Steals: McCarthy 2, Hansen 1, Cawein 1.
Christianson said, “I thought that we really battled at the beginning, but we got in foul trouble and Oceanside just wore us down with their size advantage. Believe it or not, we showed a lot more improvement on the defensive end today.”
Game three saw Kern Valley matchup with the much taller Calvin Christian squad. This time the Broncs were in the game. They battled to the end, but came up short 53-46.
Despite being overmatched in height, Kern Valley was able to keep the game close. They took the early lead as they dropped in 19 points in the first quarter. The Broncs defense allowed just 13 points.
In the second quarter, Calvin Christian was able to recover and take the lead. The halftime score was 32-24.
Kern Valley clipped a pair of points off the deficit when the third quarter came to an end. The score was 40-34 as they out-scored their opponents 10-8.
The Broncs would add 12 points to their total, but it was not enough as Calvin Christian answered with 13 points to take the victory.
Kern Valley scoring: Preston 28 (5-three-pointers), Hansen 10 (3-three-pointers), Alley 4, Walker 2, Harris 2.
Rebounding: Preston 7, Harris 4, Alley 4, Hansen 2, McCarthy 2, Bushling 1, Walker 1, Cawein 1.
Assists: Bushling 5, Hansen 4, Walker 1, Harris 1, Alley 1.
Blocks: Alley 2, Hansen 1, Harris 1.
Steals: Hansen 5, Preston 3, Walker 1, Alley 1.
Commenting on the game, Christianson said, “We switched things up a little and Shelton Alley did a good job for us against their big man. I thought that the game just slowed down for us in this game, and we did a good job of playing to our strengths.”
The Broncs were able to come away with one win in the tournament as they beat Saddleback. They had to hold on as the Roadrunners rallied to make the game close.
Kern Valley was behind 12-10 after the first quarter. By the break they had taken back the lead by pouring in 16 points. Saddleback was limited to 11 points to make it 26-23 in favor of the Broncs.
Coming out of the locker room, Kern Valley doubled up on their opponents. They scored 10 points, while the Roadrunners had only five. As the teams went into the final quarter, the Broncs were holding a 36-28 cushion.
Saddleback took advantage of the Broncs sloppy play and managed to pull close. They scored 14 points to the Broncs eight.
Kern Valley held on and put a victory in the win column.
Broncs scoring: Alley 14 (three-pointer), Bushling 12 (2-three-pointers), Hansen 9 (three-pointer), Preston 7 (three-pointer), Harris 2.
Rebounding: Harris 7, Alley 6, Preston 4, Hansen 3, Bushling 1.
Assists: Bushling 3, Preston 2, Hansen 2, Harris 2, Alley 1.
Blocks: Preston 1, Hansen 1, Bushling 1, Alley 1.
Steals: Hansen 3, Preston 1, Bushling 1, Cawein 1.
Christianson said, “I really liked how we let our defense control the game.
We got a little sloppy in the fourth quarter, but we still were able to use our experience to get the win. It was great job for the team in improving every game at this tourney. The players got much needed experience at different positions.”
The Broncs will take a small break as they wait for the High Desert League to continue on Jan. 7.
Kern Valley will travel to Frazier Mountain to take on the Falcons in their second HDL contest.