Lady Broncs get ready for playoffs finish HDL in 2nd place

By Mike Blake

With first place in the High Desert League on the line, Kern Valley’s girls basketball team closed out the season against the Rosamond Roadrunners. The Lady Broncs faced Rosamond (18-7, 9-1 in HDL) on Tuesday, coming off a tough overtime loss to Desert, while the Roadrunners were riding a six-game win streak. 

KV’s girls basketball coach Bill Gallis said finishing the season against Rosamond with the title in the balance is just the way he wanted it. “Playing for the league championship is no stranger to Kern Valley and competing against a common foe at the end of the season was exactly what we prepared for all year,” Coach Gallis said.

Defense took the spotlight in the encounter, with Rosamond holding a 9-5 lead after one quarter. Both teams put eight points through the nets in the second quarter to give the Roadrunners a 17-13 lead at halftime.

Rosamond padded the lead with a 14-8 third quarter and the Lady Broncs were down  31-21 entering the fourth. The Broncs came out firing in the final quarter. “It was another classic battle in the KV/Rosamond rivalry,” said Coach Gallis, “and I felt we did a great job defensively in slowing them (Rosamond) down. We got their key players into foul trouble early and we rebounded well. We just could not produce on offense the way we needed to, but we still gave ourselves a shot to win it in the end. Down 36-33 with .37 seconds left in the game, we got a loose ball on the court, but the ‘Runners’ Ariel Cain (who led the game with 17 points) was able to pry it loose from our defender, finishing with a layup and sealing the victory for Rosamond, 41-33.”

KV junior Jessie Bunting led the Lady Broncs on the court with 13 points. Sophomore Jayda Bushling added nine points and sophomore Elli Jeans scored seven. Junior Ava Elliott scored four points to round out Lady Broncs’ scorers. Jeans was 2-for-2 from 3-pt. range as the Lady Broncs only hit 2-of-18 tries from beyond the arc. The Broncs controlled the boards, pulling down 53 rebounds, to 27 for the Roadrunners. Bunting dominated the glass with 20 rebounds, while Elliott and Jeans each finished with 11. Bushling dished out four assists and led the team on defense with three steals. Bunting and senior Kassidy Sietsma each grabbed two takeaways.

Coach Gallis praised his team’s fight and performance. “I am proud of the girls and how they continue to compete under pressure. We congratulate Rosamond on the league Championship and now we will set our sights on the playoffs.”

Rosamond finished the season with an eight-game winning streak 11-1 in HDL play and 20-7 outscoring their opponents 1,284 to 815. Kern Valley ended the regular season on a two-game losing streak, at 8-3 in the HDL and 13-7 overall, with a 934-791 scoring advantage over their opponents. In third place tie at 8-4 in the HDL were Bishop and Desert.

Next up for Kern Valley is the Girls CIFCS Basketball Division VI playoffs. Respected with a No. 1 seed, the top-ranked Lady Broncs host  No. 16 Baker (6-6) at Kern Valley on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The winner will take on the winner of the No.8 Fresno Christian-No.9 Summit Charter match, with that second-round game set for Friday. If all goes according to rank, a possible final opponent would be No.2-ranked Bishop (13-8). Bishop’s Broncos start their playoff run Wednesday against No. 15 Lone Pine (7-7). The final would be a fourth-round game scheduled for Selland Arena in Fresno, Friday, February 23.