By: Ray Conner
Will the varsity Broncs basketball team surprise other teams this year with their athleticism?
That is the question that will be answered as the Kern Valley squad prepares to tip off the season. The players will be hoping for the team to become a team and mesh under the leadership of head coach Brian Christianson.
The talent alone may surprise their opponents when they take the court. Most of the team had been in the Broncs program for a number of years.
Last year, the Broncs struggled to find the winning formula as they finished with a 5-16 overall record. They were able to win five-of-the-12 games they played in the High Desert League which placed them in fifth.
With Christianson at the helm, he will guide this group of Broncs. He will go solo as he does not have any assistants.
The Kern Valley squad will consist of 11 players, with seven of those returning from last year. There were 17 juniors and seniors that tried out for this year’s team. Five seniors and six juniors were selected to be Broncs this season.
The five seniors are Davin Lee, Ryan Walker, Lucas Harris, Shelton Alley, and Jeffrey Cawein. The six juniors are Kaden Preston, Spencer Hansen, Trey Bushling, Dakota Smith, Tyler Strange, and Kieran McCarthy.
The seven that will take the floor again for Kern Valley are Lee, Walker, Harris, Cawein, Preston, Hansen, and Smith. Three of the other four were in the Broncs basketball program last year. Of the seven returners, six have been in the program since their freshman year.
The coach’s goal seems to repeat itself every year, but it’s his desire to win the HDL and perform well in the CIF playoffs.
For his players, Christianson will look for improvement every step of the way and be a good ambassador from Kern Valley High School and the Kern River Valley in a positive aspect.
Losing Anthony Barton was a key loss from last year’s team, but he is confident that all the players coming up from the jayvee will fit nicely into his plans. He also stated that Shelton Alley has the potential to make an impact.
When it comes to non-league action, Christianson likes the fact that Kern Valley will get a chance to play a lot teams with different styles of play.
In the HDL, it looks like Desert might be the team to beat, but as usual games with rival Bishop and Cal City are ones the Broncs are looking forward to.
Christianson sees the strength of his team in the players being athletic and having a tenacious defensive outlook. Another strength for Kern Valley seems to be the hard working effort his players put out. On the flip side, the areas that need work this season according to Christianson are coming together as a team and learning the trust factor in working together. He also sees the need for his players to believe and have confidence that they can compete for the HDL title.
In closing Christianson said, “This year’s team is further along than the teams that I have coached the last two years. We are to the point now where I don’t need to teach as much, and I can coach more. I would like to encourage everyone to come out and watch the boys on this team play. They will be a lot of fun to watch.”
With a lot of enthusiasm, their athletic ability, and the leadership of the determined coach, the Broncs could make this season one that has much success.
Kern Valley will begin its non-league schedule by traveling to take on Wonderful College Prep Academy (Delano) on Friday.