By Ray Conner
Kern Valley’s varsity basketball squad got some valuable court time as they competed in the Ninth Annual Golden Bear Tip Off Classic.
The tournament was held in Hanford at Sierra Pacific High School.
The first game was played on Nov. 28 against the Cowboys of Riverdale. This was a battle the whole way as neither team would give in.
Riverdale took the early lead as they scored 12 points to begin the game. Kern Valley put up 11 to trail by one. In the second quarter it was still close as the defenses clamped down. The Cowboys were limited to just nine points and the Broncs finished the first half with six points. When the second quarter ended, the Broncs were looking at a four point deficit at 21-17.
The Cowboys found some offense in the third as they dropped in 14 points. Kern Valley scored 11 to trail by 7 heading to the final quarter of action. The Broncs would find themselves down by 12 in the quarter. They would battle back and find themselves in a game. Kern Valley was trailing 48-45 when Ryan Walker hit a two-pointer with seven seconds to go. The Broncs were unable to foul and the Cowboys ran out the clock to give the Broncs the 48-47 loss.
Kern Valley scoring: Kaden Preston 17, Walker 14 (two-3-pointers), Davin Lee 8, Anthony Barton 4, Lucas Harris 2, Dakota Smith 2.
Rebounds: Walker 11 (completes a double-double), Barton 8, Harris 4, Preston 4, Smith 4, Lee 2, Tanner Tito 1, Spenser Hansen 1.
Assists: Lee 6, Preston 2, Smith 2, Hansen 1, Walker 1, Harris 1, Barton 1.
Blocks: Walker 2, Harris 1.
Steals: Lee 8, Walker 4, Hansen 2, Tito 1, Harris 1, Preston 1, Smith 1.
Head coach Brian Christianson said, “I really liked the energy that the team played with tonight. For us to be successful we will need that energy every night. We had some good learning experiences in this game.”
Barton commented, “I really liked how we are starting to come together as a team. It is nice to see as the oldest guy on the team, that the younger players are playing with a lot of heart and aggressiveness.”
The following night, the Broncs took on Sierra Pacific. Kern Valley stayed close in the first half, and after three quarters, but the Golden Bears exploded for 22 points in the fourth to saddle the Broncs with the 72-52 loss.
It was 17-16 after one and 34-30 when they went to the break.
Coming out of halftime, the Broncs were right there as the battled the host school. When the buzzer sounded to end the third, it was 50-58 for the Sierra Pacific team.
The fatal fourth sunk Kern Valley’s chance of picking up their first win of the season.
Broncs scoring: Walker 18 (3-three-pointers), Preston 9 (three-pointer), Harris 7 (2-three-pointers), Smith 6, Lee 5 (three-pointer), Barton 4, Tito 2, Hansen 1.
Rebounds: Harris 8, Walker 5, Barton 5, Preston 4, Lee 3, Tito 1, Hansen 1, Jeffrey Cawein 1, Smith 1.
Assists: Lee 5, Walker 3, Smith 2, Hansen 1, Harris 1, Barton 1.
Blocks: Walker 1, Harris 1.
Christianson said, “This game had the intensity and energy that league games have. It was a great experience. In the fourth quarter we got tired, and stopped doing the things that made us successful in the first three quarters.”
Walker said, “We really played hard. This game definitely helped us out for league.”
On the last day of November, the Broncs played their third game in the tournament. This time the Kern Valley squad would face off with the Woodlake Tigers.
This was another close battle that came down to the end. The Broncs started with a 10-point quarter, but trailed by one. In the second, Woodlake scored 19 and the Broncs only had 12 to send the game to halftime with the scoreboard reading 30-22 for the Tigers.
Coming out of the break, the Broncs offense heated up. They erupted for 21 points to get back to the one-point deficit after three quarters. The Broncs headed to the fourth down 44-43. The Tigers outlasted Kern Valley as they added 14 points to their total. Kern Valley scored 12 points, but could never erase the deficit. The final ended up 58-55 for Woodlake.
Kern Valley scoring: Barton 19, Harris 10 (three-pointer), Lee 10 (three-pointer), Preston 7, Walker 6, Smith 6, Tito 3.
Rebounds: Walker 10, Harris 6, Barton 6, Lee 5, Tito 4, Smith 3, Preston 1.
Assists: Preston 6, Lee 2, Barton 2, Smith 2, Tito 1, Harris 1.
Blocks: Harris 2, Smith 1.
Christianson said, “We just did not start the game with the intensity needed to play a varsity basketball game.”
The fourth and final game saw Kern Valley matched up the Mustangs of Minarets.
The Broncs never had a chance as their opponents broke from the gate quickly and raced away with the 59-38 victory.
Kern Valley trailed 16-9 after one, and down by 19 at halftime. In the third it was 55-28 and finished up with the final score saw the Broncs still looking for their first win of the season.
Broncs scoring: Walker 15, Lee 8, Harris 4 (three-pointer), Cawein 3, Smith 3, Kenneth King 3, Tito 2.
Rebounds: Walker 6, Tito 2, Smith 2, King 2, Malikye Moore 1, Lee 1, Harris 1, Preston 1, Cawein 1.
Assists: Lee 3, Walker 2, Hansen 1, Moore 1, Harris 1, Barton 1.
Blocks: Walker 2, Harris 1, Preston 1, King 1.
Christianson said, “We have to do a better job of rebounding and playing defense.
With this tournament out of the way it will be time for the Broncs to jump right into High Desert League play. They were at home on Tuesday to take on Rosamond and will go on the road Friday to play Boron.