CIF controversy ends season for Broncs

By: Ray Conner
Sports Editor

The varsity Broncs basketball season came to an end, but not without controversy.

Kern Valley ended both its High Desert League season and regular season this past week. They defeated Bishop and Mammoth to round out the season and hoped to continue in the CIF playoffs. That would not be the case. They were denied a CIF Division 4 berth despite finishing the season winning the last seven of eight games. They played well down the stretch and nearly upset the No. 6 seeded Ravens of Cal City.

It seems odd but the top seed in Division 4 had a lead record of 1-9 and was 8-16 overall. Kern Valley was 8-4 in the HDL and tied with Rosamond and 14-13 overall. Kern Valley should be a Division 5 team, but the past success bumped them up.

Having finished the HDL season tied for second with Rosamond, would have made a difference in Division 5. The Roadrunners are seeded No. 11 and Bishop is No. 7. Desert also made the CIF playoffs as the No. 14 seed. Kern Valley was given the short end of the playoff stick and will never know what might have happened in the CIF tournament.

On Feb. 11 the Broncs made the trip to Bishop to finish off the HDL. The game saw the Broncs explode in the second half and never look back in taking the 77-62 victory.

The Broncs had to rally from a six-point deficit after the first. By the time the teams went to the break it was knotted at 36-36.

Coming out of the locker room, Kern Valley poured in 22 points. The Kern Valley defense allowed their opponent nine points to take the commanding 58-45 lead.

In the fourth it was more of the same as the Broncs finished it off with 19 points. Bishop managed to score 15, but it was not near enough.
Kaden Preston led the way as he dropped in 29 points, including hitting four times from three-point land. Shelton Alley added 15 points and drained three three-pointers, while Ryan Walker also scored in double figures with 10 points. He would make a pair of three-pointers. Spencer Hansen and Lucas Harris each had seven points, while Davin Lee scored six. Trey Bushling rounded out the scoring for the Broncs as he had three points.
On the boards Kern Valley was led by Harris with 13 rebounds. Walker grabbed nine boards, while Preston had eight rebounds. Bushling and Alley each had five boards, while Lee pulled down four. Hansen finished off the board work by grabbing a pair of rebounds.

Lee handed off three assists to lead the Broncs. Preston and Harris each had two, while Hansen and Walker had one assist apiece.

Head coach Brian Christianson said, “Wow, what a game and what an effort by the Kern Valley Broncs. To go into your rivals gym, on their Senior Night, and totally dominate Bishop from midway through the second quarter until the end really says a lot about the players on this team. We are really playing good basketball right now.”

Two days later a non-league matchup with Mammoth was at hand. The Huskies came to Kern Valley on Senior Night. The Broncs were never threatened as they pounded Mammoth 56-35.

Kern Valley opened the game by holding Mammoth to just two points in the first quarter. They were able to scrape up 12 points to take the 10-point lead.

By halftime the trend continued as the Broncs defense allowed just eight points in the second. Kern Valley found the bottom of the basket for 13 points to go up 25-10.

In the second half the Kern Valley squad was able to stay consistent and score 31 more points. The Broncs defense limited the Mammoth team to 25 points in the second half to close out the win. Lee was the top scorer for the Broncs with 16 and made one three-pointer. Preston finished with 14 points, while Walker scored 10 points. Alley added nine points, including draining a pair of three-pointers, while Harris scored five. Hansen and Jeffrey Cawein each had one point.

Walker and Harris led the team in rebounding with 11. Walker would complete his double-double. Preston also completed a double-double by grabbing 10 rebounds. Alley pulled down eight boards, while Hansen had six rebounds. Bushling, Cawein, and Kieran McCarthy were credited with two rebounds apiece. Tyler Strange had one rebound.

Hansen and Lee shared the team lead in assists with three apiece. Preston, Bushling, Walker, Harris, Alley, McCarthy, and Derrick Hinkey recorded one assist each.

Christianson said, “Nice night for our seniors. They put a lot of work into getting this program back where it was, and I really appreciate them.”