The young Parker Broncs boys’ varsity basketball team played their 2019-20 season opener Dec. 3 against the Kingman Bulldogs, and they outlasted the Bulldogs for the 68-56 win.
“We came with a win,” Coach Rolland Hanson said. “We’re young, but we’re talented. We ran five sophomores through this game.”
It was a game that started out even, with the Bulldogs ahead after the first quarter. The Broncs caught up and passed them, but the Bulldogs kept nipping at their heels until almost the very end.
The lead went back and forth in the first quarter, and Kingman was ahead, 13-12, as the second quarter began. The Broncs tied it at 19-19 with 4:25 left in the first half, and then took the lead at 3:22 with a free throw from Jason Rodriguez. The Broncs gradually built up that lead on several scores, including a three-pointer by Leo Scott Jr. Parker led by six at halftime, 31-25.
Early in the third quarter, the Broncs went up by eight points, 35-27. Rodriguez gave them a nine-point lead at 44-35 with 2:46 remaining. In the fourth quarter, they inched that lead up to 11 points when Scott made a free throw. Rodriguez made it a 13-point lead with 3:34 left. That would be the Broncs’ biggest lead of the game.
With 1:15 left, the Bulldogs had closed the gap to six points, 62-56. The Broncs took things up a notch and Rodriguez sank three baskets to ice the game and a 68-56 win for Parker.
Rodriguez scored 10 points for Parker in the fourth quarter, but he wasn’t the only one with an outstanding final quarter. Gabe Imus scored 10 for the Bulldogs to keep them in the game. He hit a pair of three-pointers.
Rodriguez led all scorers with 23 points. Scott scored 21, Jesse Carrillo had 12, Josh Openshaw had 8, and Ryan Messer added 4.
For the Bulldogs, their top scorer was Jacob Martel, their 6 foot-5 inch senior center. He had 21 points, but he had to content with Parker’s Jesse Carrillo guarding him all night. Hanson said he was pleased with how Carrillo handled Martel.
“I thought he did a good job with him,” Hanson said.
Imus had 17 points for the Bulldogs, while Malachi Brown added 10.
Hanson said he was pleased with how the Broncs handled themselves in the game, but added they still have a lot to work on. This included making their lay-ups. He said this should improve as the young team develops.
“Experience will help them finish their shots,” he said.
The Broncs are now 1-0 on the season. They’ll be back in action Thursday, Dec. 5, when they host the Leading Edge Academy of Gilbert Spartans. Game time is 7:30 p.m. in the O.B. Francis Gym.
This weekend, Dec. 6 and 7, the Broncs will be at the Desert Classic at Bourgade Catholic High School in Phoenix.