By Ray Conner
The Broncs varsity basketball team took one step forward then one step back in this week’s High Desert League play.
Kern Valley went on the road and played Frazier Mountain on Jan. 22. The Broncs prevailed in the see-saw battle that saw them rally to another fourth quarter comeback victory.
The game opened with Broncs jumping from the starting gate to a 17-10 lead after the first quarter. The Falcons gathered themselves and put together an 18-point second. Kern Valley was limited to just eight points to go into the break with a deficit. The halftime score saw the Broncs behind 28-25.
Coming out of the locker room, the Falcons stayed hot as they delivered another 18 points. Kern Valley found some offense as well. They dropped in 17 points, but went to the final quarter looking at a 46-42 hole.
It was the fourth that was the spark for the Broncs. With the deficit at eight points, the Broncs defense set the stage for the comeback win. A big three-pointer by Spenser Hansen finally returned the lead in the Broncs favor at 54-53. Down the stretch, Kern Valley went on a 7-2 run to close out the victory. The final score saw the Broncs with the 61-55 advantage.
Leading the way for the Broncs was Davin Lee with 17 points. He was followed by Dakota Smith with 11 points, while Kaden Preston scored 10, including hitting a pair from three-point land. Hansen and Ryan Walker each finished with six points, while Anthony Barton had five. Wrapping up the scoring for the Broncs were Tanner Tito and Jeffrey Cawein with two points apiece.
On the boards, Barton grabbed eight to lead the team. Lee pulled down seven rebounds, while Walker and Smith each had six boards. Tito and Lucas Harris recorded three boards, while Hansen and Cawein each had one rebound in the game.
Head coach Brian Christianson said, “Once again, we were able to come from behind and win. We were behind by as much as eight in the fourth quarter. This team has a quiet confidence that you just feel in the second half that they are going to make a run to comeback.”
Up next was a trip to Rosamond three days later. Kern Valley was sitting at 5-4 in the High Desert League and was hoping to upset the Roadrunners who were at 4-4.
The two teams took the floor and the game was on. The first quarter saw the Broncs trail by three when the buzzer sounded. Rosamond scored 17, while the Broncs had 14 points. The Roadrunners took control in the second as they outscored Kern Valley 24-16 to give them a 41-30 cushion at the half.
The Broncs came out of the break and stepped it up on defense where they limited Rosamond to just 11 points. The offense did its part as they were able to score 14 to cut the margin to eight points.
The Roadrunners adjusted and put some separation between them with a 20-point fourth. The Broncs managed to score 14, but it was not enough as they fell to Rosamond 72-58. Despite the score differential, the Broncs did not make it easy on the Roadrunners. With five minutes to go in the fourth, the lead was cut to 59-55.
Two minutes later the Broncs trailed by six. Missed opportunities and trying to stay in the game by fouling saw the lead balloon to 14-points.
Kern Valley scoring: Barton 18, Preston 11 (three-pointer), Harris 11, Smith 7, Walker 4, Hansen 3 (three-pointer), Tito 2, Lee 2.
Rebounding: Barton 16 (completes double-double), Walker 8, Harris 4, Lee 3, Smith 3, Tito 2, Cawein 1.
Assists: Lee 4, Walker 3, Tito 1, Barton 1, Smith 1.
Steals: Hansen 3, Tito 2, Lee 2, Preston 1.
Christianson said, “It was good for our young players to experience this atmosphere. Our three seniors showed good leadership tonight. Once again, we battled all night. We are just having a little bit of trouble recognizing what a good shot is and what isn’t. We also need to move the ball around better on offense, as the ball is sticking in a few players’ hands too long.”
The loss put the Broncs at 5-5 in the HDL and 5-14 overall. They have two games remaining in the regular season. They played league leading Cal City on Tuesday and will be at home on Friday to entertain rival Bishop on Senior Night.