Broncos dig hole, Stephenson rolls

HARRIS – After a sluggish start and a lackluster defensive effort, the Bark River-Harris Broncos found a way to creep back into their game against the Stephenson Eagles Wednesday. They cut a 14-point deficit down to just four, but there just wasn’t enough time to get any closer and the Eagles claimed the 63-56 non-conference victory.

“We missed some key free throws and kind of let them back in, and we got a little sloppy for about two minutes with passing the ball,” said Stephenson coach Kurt Wangerin. “They were able to come down and make some threes on us, and they got back in the game that way.”

The Eagles were up 21-10 after the first quarter, and maintained a 33-24 lead heading into halftime. They controlled the interior which forced the Broncos to take to their perimeter shooting. Although BR-H was able to knock some triples down, the Eagles cruised to a 51-37 lead as the final quarter began.

The early success for Stephenson came in large part from the efforts of Casey Wilson, who put together an outstanding game. He finished with a double-double, putting up 11 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks.

“His intensity was really good tonight,” Wangerin said. “Early in the game, he hustled for the first out-of-bounds play, and set the tone for the team tonight. It was nice to see.”

With just 45 seconds left in the contest, the Broncos climbed back to make it a 60-56 ball game. However, that was as close as they would get.

In order to save time, they quickly fouled Wilson, who knocked down one of his two free throws. BR-H couldn’t find a bucket, and Stephenson regained possession. The Eagles threw a hail-mary inbounds pass down court to Travis Wangerin for the easy layup to seal up the win.

“We just got too far behind in the first quarter, and we didn’t come out with a lot of energy,” said Broncos coach Matt Richer. “And I told my guys, ‘you’re not going to beat any team at any level if you don’t play defense.’ We need to be much more consistent on that end.”

He added that the Broncos seem to find energy once they are already on the verge of a blowout.

“We don’t have that sense of urgency until it’s too late,” he said. “We finished strong, but just couldn’t come all the way back.”

Travis Wangerin led the Eagles with 19 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists. Cody VanBrocklin paced BR-H with 15.

The Broncos (6-11) resume Friday, hosting North Central.