The Parker Broncs boys’ basketball team started the year 2020 with a pair of regular season wins at home. The first was a blow-out of the Heritage Academy Heroes of Laveen, 84-22, Jan. 9. This was their first game against one of their 2A West region opponents.
The followed this game with a 63-40 win over the Santa Cruz Valley Dust Devils Jan. 10. The Broncs led nearly all the way in this game, but they really didn’t pull head until the fourth quarter.
“They hung close to us for quite a while,” Parker Coach Rolland Hansen said of the Dust Devils. “They had a smart game plan.”
Against Heritage Academy, the Broncs got out to an early lead and never looked back. They were ahead 30-8 at the end of the first quarter. They increased that lead to 53-15 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, that lead had become a chasm, 73-17. The officials let the clock run in the fourth quarter as the massacre ended with a final score of Parker 84, Heritage Academy 22.
“Everybody got to play,” Hansen said. “The guys came into their first region game and they took care of it.”
Josh Openshaw led the Broncs with 26 point despite only playing about half the game. Jesse Carrillo had 16, Leo Scott Jr. added 14, and Jason Rodriguez scored 12. Luis Miller scored 6.
The Broncs had no turnovers in the game.
Some of the bench players game in and had strong performances, Hansen said. Billy Alcaida hit a three-pointer and grabbed six rebounds.
The Broncs and the Dust Devils started out fairly even, but the Broncs began to pull away late in the first quarter. At the end of the quarter, they had a 10-point lead, 22-12.
The second quarter saw each team score 13 points. The Broncs still had a lead, but they had not been able to increase it. The Dust Devils had kept up with the Broncs, but they had made no progress in catching up with them.
That looked like it could change in the early part of the third quarter. With 5:30 left in the quarter, the Dust Devils had cut the Broncs’ lead to 5 points, 35-20. The Broncs appeared to be having trouble making their lay-ups.
The Broncs then began hitting their shots. With 3:38 left in the quarter, the Broncs widened their lead to 42-30. The capper to this run was a two-pointer from Josh Openshaw and his making the free throw after he was fouled on the play.
A three-pointer at the buzzer by Jason Rodriguez gave the Broncs a 49-34 lead going into the final quarter.
The Broncs continued to build their lead in the final quarter right up to the end. The final was Parker 63, Santa Cruz Valley 40.
“It’s a good win,” Hansen said. “It’s a good start for these young boys. We have to take care of business the rest of the way.”
Hansen said the Dust Devils came in and played a smart game.
“They knew who our leading scorers were,” he said. “They were on them the whole game.”
Rodriguez led the Broncs with 16 points, while Leo Scott Jr. was right behind him with 14. Luis Miller and Josh Openshaw each 7. Openshaw made only one of five free-throw attempts in the first quarter, but he made four of his next five. Carrillo had 6 points, and Adrian Gutierrez had 5.
The Broncs are now 1-0 against their 2A West region opponents, and they are in first place in the region due to their having a 4-0 record against 2A teams. They are 6-2 overall and are ranked 17th in the state in Arizona Interscholastic Association power points.
The Broncs hit the road this week with two games. On Monday, Jan. 13, they’ll face the Kingman Academy Tigers. On Friday, Jan. 17, they’ll have their second region game as they play the Tonopah Valley Phoenix. Their next home date will be Tuesday, Jan. 21, when they’ll have another region game as they play the Arizona Lutheran Coyotes. Game time for varsity boys is set for 7:30 p.m.