Broncos fall short of goal

HARRIS – This wasn’t what the Bark River-Harris Broncos had in mind for the start of their district tournament run.

An 8-for-19 free throw shooting performance, a 0-19 shooting performance in the second quarter. A 38-37 defeat to Mid Peninsula – a team the Broncos (13-8) haven’t lost to in 12 years.

For a team that judges its seasons based on it does in the tournament, this was a disappointing result.

“The sad thing is, I spend a whole year preparing, trying to make each game the biggest game to prepare for that tournament run,” said Broncos head coach Joel Schuitz. “When you don’t even get through the first game, you really have to some self-reflection, that’s for sure.”

Not many outside of the Mid Peninsula locker room saw this one coming/ The Broncos had every opportunity to win, and put themselves in position to win multiple times, but couldn’t cash in on their opportunities.

Were the Broncos too amped up for this one?

“I suppose,” said Schultz. “It could be a variety of things. We had a wide open shot down the stretch. This probably isn’t a game that should have come down to that, but it did. We’ve had that problem actually this year in close games, where we haven’t executed.”

The Broncos did do an excellent job defensively on Mid Peninsula power forward Hunter Branstrom, holding her without a field goal and without many shot attempts either. It ended up being a footnote at the end of the game however, because of the efforts of Kelsey Shope, Marissa Westlund and Sarah Hanson, not to mention Cori Nummilien, who hit the game winning shot with a second to spare.

“It’s a simple game,” Schultz said. “You have to rebound, you can’t turn it over and you have to hit shots. We let the tempo get out of pace, but it all came from not hitting shots, from every aspect.”

If there is one thing to take away for the Broncos, it’s that they will bring nearly every player from their lineup back, with the exception of senior Kortney Jenshak. The loss, given time, may even make them a stronger team.

“It didn’t kill them, so I guess it’s supposed to,” said Schultz. “Saying goodbye to Kortney, one of the regrets would be that she’s ended a good career on a down note.

“But everybody will take some time, rationalize it, and they’ll realize it wasn’t a horrible year. But based off what we set for goals, what we hoped to accomplish and how we conduct ourselves, it’s not a very good year. What do you do about it? Hopefully they go to work.”