Unselfish Broncos dish it out

HARRIS – The Bark River-Harris Broncos kicked it into high gear and showcased their depth in a 72-64 Central U.P. Conference victory over Superior Central, Thursday night.

A slow start for the Broncos suddenly turned red-hot as BR-H exploded in a 32 point second quarter. Guards Troy Teeple and Cody Welch dished the ball out all over the place as eight different Broncos scored in the big quarter.

It was a drastic change from the start of the game where both teams were off-target through the first four minutes.

BR-H (5-2, 3-2 CUP) clung to a 1-0 lead at the five minute mark of the period before the Cougars snapped out of the funk first. Jake Aho put Superior Central (1-4, 0-2) on the board with a hook shot and Brandon Maki scored all five of his points on a layup and a triple as a 7-0 run put SC in front 7-3. But the Broncos woke up and took the lead back 13-11 on a Teeple triple as the buzzer sounded.

“The kids came out and played well. I figured with the break and our games being limited, that we’d start off a little slow so I told the kids not to try to do too much,” said Broncos head coach Tom Lindquist. “We switched some things up after the first quarter and the kids really came out in the second. We didn’t miss many.”

BR-H big Branden Willa was slapped with two fouls within the first 90 seconds of the game, but that gave Mason Wallace an opportunity and he took advantage on the defensive end. Lindquist praised the effort.

“Mason stepped up and did a whale of a job,” he said. “I wanted to get Mason in the lineup and tonight was the opportunity with Willa in foul trouble, and he showed me a lot.”

The Broncos carried a 45-20 lead into the half and appeared headed for a blowout, but Lindquist changed the script as he inserted his bench with nearly five minutes remaining in the third quarter, and left them in the remainder of the game.

Superior Central took advantage, winning the second half 44-27.

Aho led the way, driving the lane and getting most of his game-high 16 points in the point, while Greg Seppanen got the Cougars inside-outside game going with two triples and 15 points. Cody Maki added 10 points.

“They went in and they had a great attitude,” said SC coach Herb Jenkins. “The great thing about Jake Aho is he’s a hard worker. I’d like him to shoot a little more, but they’re all unselfish kids. Jake just started playing basketball as a freshman and he’s come so far in a little over two years, it’s amazing.”

The Cougars closed the 25 point deficit to 19 points going into the fourth and kept the pressure on. With three minutes to go, it was a 14 point game, and Cody Maki’s triple with 28 seconds remaining made it an eight point game.

Lindquist never panicked though and stuck with his bench until the end.

“The guys on my bench have been working their butts off against my starters, making them better. I thought tonight was an opportunity being at home to give them as much playing time as I could. They deserved to be on the floor,” he said.

“I thought they played well. Maybe they broke down a bit on defense here and there, but they held the lead. I wasn’t worried. Maybe a couple more baskets and maybe I’d be thinking about getting back to the starters, but I gave them a chance and they held on.”

Jenkins was proud of the effort and called the defeat a building block for his young squad.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but these games are good for us,” he said. “We’re playing for March, that’s why we schedule the Negaunee’s and Menominee’s. Those baby steps are going to add up.”

Four Broncos scored in double figures led by Jordan Sodergren’s 13 points. Teeple scored 12 followed by Welch with 11 and Kyle Kleiman with 10. Welch added six assists and four steals while Kleiman racked up seven steals, six rebounds, three assists and one block. 11 players got on the scoreboard for the Broncos.

BR-H beat Escanaba 58-49 in the junior varsity game.

The Broncos host Forest Park, Monday while Superior Central hosts North Central on Saturday afternoon.