By: Ray Conner
The varsity Broncs basketball had three games this past week.
All three were High Desert League contests. In order they faced Cal City, Desert, and Bishop. Kern Valley was victorious in one of the three games.
They opened the week against the Ravens of Cal City. The Broncs started well as they took the lead after one quarter 11-6. The Ravens took exception and exploded for 25 points in the second quarter. Kern Valley managed just 10 as the two teams went to the break with the scoreboard reading 31-21 for the Cal City squad.
Coming out of the break, the Ravens continued to pour in baskets and push the lead greater. The Broncs scored 10 points, while Cal City added 23 points. When the horn sounded ending the third it was 54-31 for the Ravens.
In the final quarter the Broncs scored 16 points, but Cal City dropped in 23 more points to run away with the game 77-47.
Ryan Walker with 11 points was the top scorer for the Broncs. Kaden Preston added eight points, while Lucas Harris and Kieran McCarthy each had six points. Spencer Hansen scored five points, including one three-pointer, while Trey Bushling had four points. Tyler Strange hit once from behind the three-point line for his three points, while Davin Lee and Shelton Alley each had two points to wrap up the scoring for Kern Valley.
Harris led the squad in rebounding with 10. McCarthy grabbed six boards, while Walker finished with five rebounds. Alley pulled down four boards, while Lee had three rebounds. Hansen and Bushling each had a pair of rebounds, while Jeffrey Cawein closed out the board work with one rebound.
Harris handed out six assists to lead the Broncs. Hansen dished out a pair of assists, while Walker and Strange each had one assist in the game.
Lee was credited with five steals to lead the Kern Valley team. Preston finished with three steals, while Hansen recorded two steals. Bushling, Harris, Strange, and McCarthy had one assist apiece.
Head coach Brian Christianson said, “We got into some bad old habits tonight, and then we got frustrated which made things worse. Mentally, we have to start realizing that we can play with the teams at the top of our league.”
The following day, Kern Valley was at home against Desert. The Broncs took control early and then held off the surging Scorpions.
After one it was 14-8 for Kern Valley. By halftime it had closed to 23-19.
After three quarters the Broncs were ahead 33-28. When the final buzzer sounded the Kern Valley squad took the game 48-45.
Leading the way in scoring for Kern Valley was Preston with 23 points. He would knock down five three-pointers in the game. Hansen added 11 points, including hitting three from long-distance, while Harris finished with six points. Walker dropped in a three-pointer for his three points, while Alley contributed two points. Lee went to the free-throw line and sunk one for his lone point in the contest.
Harris and Alley shared the team lead in rebounding as they each grabbed nine. Preston pulled down six boards, while Walker had five. Hansen and Lee recorded a pair of rebounds each, while Bushling and Cawein had one board apiece.
Leading the way in the unselfish department was Preston with five assists. Lee handed out three assists, while Hansen and Alley were credited with two assists apiece. Harris had one assist.
Lee was the leading thief as he recorded five steals. Preston, Hansen, and Walker each had two steals, while Bushling and Alley had one each. Harris swatted away four of the Scorpions shot attempts.
Christianson said, “The team took pride in frustrating Desert’s offense with some great defense! This was an important win for us to get us back on track. We really picked it up rebounding the ball. That was one of the keys to the game.”
The final game of the week was a familiar advisory in rival Bishop. Kern Valley fell behind late in the first half and then battled back to make a game of it. There was a significant difference in fouls during the game. The Broncs were whistled for 31 fouls and two players left early due to getting hit with five. Three other players recorded four fouls and a pair of others finished with three. On the flip side the Bishop team had only 19 fouls in the game.
The Broncos would receive 41 chances at the free-throw line. They would hit on 17. Kern Valley would have 24 shots from the charity stripe making 11.
Despite the obvious one-sided officiating, the Broncs refused to make that an excuse. They were down by 17 points with just four minutes to play. They would go on a run and close the gap to one with 39 seconds left. That would be the closest they would come and fall to Bishop 59-54.
After one the score was knotted at 9-9. By the time the teams went to the break it was 24-18 for Bishop. After three it was 41-31 for the Broncos.
The scoring leader for Kern Valley was Preston with 32 points. That included dropping in four from behind the three-point arc. Lee and Alley each had seven points. Lee would hit once from three-point land. Bushling and Harris each scored four points, including making one apiece from long-distance.
Harris was chairman-of-the- boards for the Broncs as he grabbed a team high 12 rebounds. Walker had eight boards, while Alley pulled down seven rebounds. Preston had six rebounds, while Lee recorded five boards. Hansen and McCarthy each had three rebounds, while Bushling and Cawein each had one board.
Three Broncs shared the team lead in assists with three. Preston, Hansen, and Lee each distributed three assists for Kern Valley. Walker was credited with one assist in the contest.
Lee had six steals to lead the Broncs in thefts. Preston, Hansen, and Walker finished with three steals apiece, while Harris and Alley had two each. Cawein finished the action by recording one steal.
Walker, Harris, and Alley each had one block in the game for Kern Valley.
Christianson said, “The team really battled tonight. We lost our focus in the third quarter, and part of the fourth quarter. However, we hung in there, and really made it a game at the end.”
The Broncs currently sit at 7-12 on the season and 3-3 in the HDL. They are in fourth place in the league standings.
The Broncs played a non-league game in Mammoth against the Huskies on Tuesday and will get back into HDL action on Friday when they travel to take on the Boron Bobcats.