By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Head boys’ basketball Coach Dave Kuhlen summed up his team’s performance in the season opener like this: “We did some good things; we did some bad things.”
But overall, Kuhlen liked what he saw in the Broncs’ 73-49 win over the Wallace Wildcats Saturday night.
“The kids really competed hard,” he said.
Kuhlen’s fast style of offense, plus a trapping, pressing defense kept his players on the run most of the night. They held up well, noting they seem to be in good shape this early in the season.
One of the positive things of the night came at the offensive end of the court. Three of his starters all scored 20 points or more in the contest. Kuhlen said this marks the first time that three of his players have all scored 20 or more in a game.
Drew Harris led the way with 21 points, including a pair of treys. Chris Bartels and T. J. Ellicott each finished with 20 points.
Ellicott blew the game wide open in the third quarter when he hit three consecutive treys.
What hurt the Broncs were fouls, Kuhlen said. “We were a little overzealous and it got us into foul trouble.”
He called on John Kitt, Brendan Geier and Bo Fanning in the first half to fill in for players in foul trouble.
Despite being in foul trouble the first half, the Broncs adjusted to the pace of play in the second half and no one fouled out.
The Broncs’ fast pace allowed them to open a 15-6 lead after the first quarter on two treys each from Bartels and Harris.
It looked like the Broncs could be headed for a blowout, leading 20-6 early in the second quarter. But that’s when foul trouble set in.
Wallace made the best of the opportunity, hitting seven of 12 free throws. By halftime, the Wildcats cut the Broncs’ lead to just six, 27-21.
The Broncs came out on fire in the third quarter, pouring in 24 points while holding Wallace to just 12.
Ellicott’s three treys, along with two deuces, dealt the Wildcats a blow they couldn’t ever recover from.
In the fourth, the Broncs poured in 20 points, including four buckets by Harris. Meanwhile, the defense kept their margin intact by holding the Wildcats to just 16 in the final period for the 73-49 win.
As a team, the Broncs shot 17-29 (.586) from inside the arc and 12-28 (.428) outside the arc. Of those, Ellicott was 4-5 (.80).
Ellicott and Martin each dished off four assists and Ellicott and Harris each added four steals. Harris led the rebounding with nine.
The Broncs will play host to Cambridge this Friday, with girls jayvee action beginning at 3 p.m. MT/4 p.m. CT, followed by two quarters of boys jayvee play.