Broncos outmuscle Jets

HARRIS – Slop it up.

That’s what can often occur in rivalry games between the Bark River-Harris Broncos and North Central Jets, but not often to this level.

In a turnover-filled slug fest, the Broncos girls prevailed Monday night 63-47 in a dual Skyline/Central U.P. Conference matchup.

The Jets had 33 turnovers, the Broncos, at least 22. There were 37 total fouls called and any sustained flow to the game was thoroughly disrupted by the aforementioned.

Still, there was some bright spots. Despite it all, the Broncos managed 63 points on offense, due largely to the team settling down in the second half.

“Juices were high. I can’t explain it, but I can focus on that as a negative or I can focus on the effort on the court as a positive,” said Broncos coach Joel Schultz. “We had the right kind of effort and didn’t fall off the cliff with mistakes, and we had players tonight that made mistakes they’re not always going to make.”

The Jets seized control early on. After back-to-back buckets from Morgan and Bailey Wells, North Central led 8-3. However, the Broncos responded with back-to-back triples from Sarah Madalinski, followed by two free throws from Katie Schultz and three-point play from Madalinski. That gave the Broncos a 14-8 lead going into the second quarter, one they wouldn’t relinquish.

The second quarter quickly dissolved into a free-throw competition as 14 girls were sent to the line between the two teams. Bark River came out of it, holding a 33-27 advantage heading into the break.

In the second half, turnovers mounted for both teams, many of them unforced. There was traveling, errant passes and even a few double-dribbles.

“Take care of the ball. That’s the only thing I talked about in the locker room,” said Jets coach Nikki Laurila. “You can’t have 33 turnovers against Bark River, you just can’t, and there’s no reason for it.”

For the Jets, it was their fourth consecutive defeat after a 8-2 start, a stretch that included games against No. 2 Forest Park, No. 3 Superior Central, Carney-Nadeau and No. 5 Bark River-Harris.

“We’ve had a tough schedule this month and those games take a lot of you when you don’t come up with the win and you play that good,” said Laurila. “We’re just in a slump and we have to get that game that gets us out.”

Baylee Wells led the Jets with an 18-point effort.

“Baylee’s been kind of down lately with cold shooting. Now that she’s come around, I need everyone else to, up to Morgan (Wells),” said Laurila. “We have to come around with our guards and take care of the ball.”

The Broncos dominated play inside during the second half with Sarah Madalinski racking up 25 points with 10 rebounds and drawing a ton of fouls. Hannah Starnes added 12 points. Schultz had five steals to go along with her seven points and Kylie VanBrocklin scored nine points with four assists.

“The execution in the fourth quarter, I thought, was excellent. We spread them at the appropriate times and made better decisions,” said coach Schultz. “We were almost shooting from the half-court line in the first quarter. If there weren’t turnovers, there were 40-foot hook shots. We just didn’t settle into things. We did a better job in the second half, and it paid dividends.”

Schultz acknowledged it wasn’t the prettiest victory.

“It was a really unconventional game with no rhythm or expectations,” he said. “There were a lot of fouls, a lot of broken plays. But when ti’s all said and done, I’m OK with the tempo it created. They were getting up and down the floor faster than they wanted and there were a lot of turnovers, but we still scored 60-some points. There was a pace to the game; it was just ugly.”

North Central (8-6, 3-4 Skyline, 6-5 CUP) which won the jayvee game 55-47 travels to Carney-Nadeau Monday while Bark River-Harris (11-3, 6-3, 7-1) hosts North Dickinson on Thursday.