Pressing the issue

HARRIS – Bark River-Harris picked up their pace defensively and with it the points followed as the Broncos used a huge fourth quarter to beat Rapid River 58-46 on Monday.

The Broncos led 35-33 after three quarters but used a full-court press to up the tempo in the final eight minutes creating a slew of turnovers that led to lay-ups.

“I was waiting to put some pressure on them in the second half which I did at Mid Pen and that’s kind of where we’re at,” said BR-H head coach Tom Lindquist. “I don’t want to press to early so I waited until the fourth quarter and then I got my small lineup in and they finished the game out strong.”

A key part of Lindquist’s small line-up was point guard Troy Teeple. The senior led the Broncos with 21 points, 13 of which he poured in during the fourth quarter to help BR-H pull away. Lindquist said his guards did a better job of getting into the paint in the second half.

I thought Troy, again, did a whale of a job,” he said. “He’s a difference maker. Just looking at my guards, the way they were playing us, I knew they could beat them off the dribble but we weren’t doing it in the first half and that’s what I told them at halftime; was just blow by the guy and finish strong.”

The Broncos opened up the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run. Teeple netted eight points during the burst and assisted Kyle Kleiman on the other basket. Kleiman was being guarded by Rapid River’s Jake Pearson who blocked four shots in the first half. Lindquist stretched his big man out on the wing in the second half to help pull Pearson away from the rim.

“I think Kyle being as good as he is, Pearson didn’t want to leave him, and I had him going out to the wing and that kind of helped open up the middle, so having Kyle as a threat definitely helps,” he said.

The Broncos run was also aided by the Rockets foul trouble. Rapid River picked up their seventh team foul at the beginning of the fourth quarter, putting BR-H in the bonus. The Broncos responded by netting 9-of-11 free throws in the fourth.

“The turning point I think is when we picked up our seventh foul right at the beginning of the fourth quarter,” said Rockets head coach Richard Poma. “You can’t have the other team shooting a one-and-one with a whole quarter to go, that’s not acceptable. I got to give them (BR-H) a lot a credit, they played hard and they played smart.”

Before the fourth quarter neither team led by more than five points and the game went through seven lead changes. The game was tied 11-11 at the end of the first quarter and the Rockets held a 23-21 lead at half-time.

“I thought the kids played great,” Poma said. “I thought their was no lack of hustle. I think we need to do a better job with decision making in the end. That was the main factor. We were with them the whole way and they put their pressure on and we couldn’t handle it but overall I thought they played hard.”

Pearson paced the Rockets with 24 points. The Broncos kept a defender glued to the senior all game and often showed double teams when he had possession. Lindquist acknowledged that Pearson’s going to get looks but their focus was to keep him off the offensive glass.

“Tonight we came out and we knew that we had to try to double Pearson most of the game and I thought my guys overall did a nice job on him,” he said. “At times he got open but Pearson’s going to get his shots. I thought we kept him off the boards though, We always had two or three guys on him.”

The Broncos improve to 3-0 with the win while Rapid River drops to 0-2. Bark River-Harris plays Big Bay de Noc (2-0) at home on Thursday. Rapid River travels to Crystal Falls on Thursday.