By Ray Conner
The Kern Valley Broncs continued to play summer basketball, taking on two teams that have Eagles as their mascots.
The games were played with the following format: Two 20-minute halves with a running clock. The games were refereed by CIF officials with free throws only shot on shooting fouls. One made free throw equaled two points. When fouled and the basket was made, it was an automatic three-point play. One made free throw equals two points after the 10th team foul.
They opened the basketball action against the Firebaugh Eagles.
The Broncs would fall behind in the first half as they trailed by five points after the buzzer.
The Eagles of Firebaugh dropped in 29 points, and the Broncs scored 24.
They recovered in the second half as the defense settled in and limited the Eagles to just 13 points.
The offense found the mark and began to rattle the cords as the ball went through for points. The Broncs responded with 21 points to stake their claim of victory 45-42.
Eight players from the Broncs were able to put points on the board.
They were led by Kaden Preston, who hit four times from behind the three-point arc and totaled 22 points.
Davin Lee and Anthony Barton each scored six points, while Lucas Harris and Dakota Smith added four points apiece. Ryan Walker finished with two points, while Peter Moerke wrapped up the scoring with one point.
Lee and Barton each grabbed eight rebounds to share the team lead for Kern Valley in rebounding.
Walker pulled down seven boards, while Preston had five rebounds. Moerke and Smith were credited with four boards, while Spenser Hansen and Harris each had a pair of rebounds in the game.
Lee was the assist leader for the Broncs as he handed out three. Harris recorded a pair of assists, while Walker, Moerke, Hansen and Barton each had one assist.
Lee was credited with the lone block for the Kern Valley squad.
Preston was the leading thief, as he was credited with three steals.
Harris and Hansen had two steals, while Walker and Lee had one each.
Head coach Brian Christianson said, “We did not come out with the energy we need to play in order to be successful. We played Firebaugh’s second team, and they played a different style from what we had seen so far this summer. [There are] lots of things we can learn from this game.”
Moving to the gym at Liberty High School in Madera, the Broncs would face off against a team that they had played the previous week. The Eagles of Fresno Christian toppled the Broncs 50-45 the previous meeting.
In that game the Broncs jumped out early, but the Eagles battled back to take the game by five points.
This game was eerily similar as Kern Valley put up 30 points in the first half. They were ahead by three points as Fresno Christian scored 27 points.
In the second half, the Eagles out scored the Broncs 25-10 to gain the victory in another close battle on the court.
Eight Kern Valley players got their chance to put the ball through the hoop and help the team make it a close battle in the game.
They were led by Walker with 17 points, including dropping in three from long distance.
Preston finished with nine points, including a pair from behind the arc.
Lee shot for eight points, while Moerke and Barton each had four points. Smith added three points to the Broncs total, while Harris and Hansen each had two points to finish off the scoring for the Broncs in this game.
Walker just missed a double-double as he led the team with nine rebounds.
Preston grabbed seven boards, while Moerke, Barton, and Smith each were credited with four rebounds. Lee had three boards, while Harris and Hansen each had one rebound to close out the board work for the Broncs.
Preston and Lee shared the team lead in unselfish play as they each dished out four assists. Harris recorded three assists, while Hansen had one assist.
Barton recorded the lone blocked shot attempt for the Kern Valley squad.
Hansen and Lee shared the team lead in steals with three apiece. Walker was credited with two steals.
Christianson said, “This game was close the whole way, and felt like a regular season game as there is getting to be a little rivalry between Fresno Christian and Kern Valley. Overall, I was very pleased with our effort in this game. We were able to out rebound a much taller Fresno Christian team. We really had the crowd in the gym on our side because of our hustle and tenacity. This is the type of game as a coach that you want in the summer.”
Smith commented, “Today was a good experience and is helping me become a better basketball player.”