With the exception of two district losses to crosstown foe Guyer, the Denton Broncos continued their dominance over District 5-4A with a 75-45 shellacking of Azle at home Tuesday.
The Broncos’ frenetic yet controlled up-tempo style of play was on full display in the first half as Denton jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, with six points from Michael Jackson, who finished with a team-high 16 points. Jackson’s infectious energy spread to the rest of his teammates as the Broncos had an answer for every Hornets run.
After Azle responded with a 7-2 run of their own, Jackson buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to reclaim the lead and jumpstart another 7-0 flurry.
“He [Michael Jackson] has been struggling from behind the 3-point line in district, and he was able to knock down two or three tonight, which really got his confidence going,” Denton head coach Harold Jackson said. “Anytime somebody knocks down shots, it gets their energy level up, and he played with tremendous energy tonight.”
Azle fought back early in the second quarter to get within seven at 24-17 after back-to-back buckets by Slayton Vaughan. Vaughan led all scorers with 21 points and showed a well-rounded game by shooting the ball well from the outside, coupled with his decisive post moves in the paint.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Harold Jackson said. “He’s tough because of his size, so we knew that it was going to be difficult to stop him, and we just tried to contain him as best we could.”
Guard Ryan Daniels, the Broncos’ floor leader, was the beneficiary of strong defensive rebounding that led to prime situations for him to dice up the opposing defense with his quick passes, sturdy ball control and stellar footwork. He finished with 11 points.
“We outletted the ball to Ryan, and he was the catalyst for our fast break tonight,” Harold Jackson said. “He was able to hit guys on time and on target and those guys were able to finish. I thought he did a really good job. I think as the season has gone on, he has gotten better running the offense and being the team leader on the floor and he has done a tremendous job of that lately.”
The Broncos (15-13, 10-2) finished the second quarter on a 6-2 run to head into halftime up 35-22. Denton’s defense held the Hornets to only eight third-quarter points as Denton put up their second 22-point quarter of the game to take a 57-30 lead.
Adarian Harris converted two three-point plays in the third quarter on his way to eight points in the period and 14 for the game. Manny Patterson added 10 points for Denton, which swept the season series against the Hornets.
Denton 42, Azle 37
The Lady Broncos finished their season on a high note as they earned their fourth district victory with a victory over the Lady Hornets on senior night.
“Our seniors did a nice job,” Denton head coach Dennis Krishka said. “When it came down to a clutch rebound at the end, LaNeisha Hudspeth pulled that down and I thought Victoria [Amadi] had one of her better games of the season tonight. Defensively, in the second half, she worked really hard in the post and we even got some offense out of her with six points.”
After falling behind 7-4, the offense carried Denton to a 23-19 halftime lead.
Krishka said he was impressed with the team’s second-half defense after struggling in the first half.
“I was disappointed with our defense in our first half and we talked about that at halftime,” Krishka said. “I think our defense was a whole lot better in the second half. Our guards played very good defense in the second half.”
April Pena, who led all scorers with 11 points, had her long-range shot clicking as she knocked down two 3-pointers in the second quarter with her third 3 capping a Denton 7-0 run to open the third quarter. That gave the Lady Broncos a 30-19 lead. Le’Andra Johnson banked in a shot just inside the 3-point line as the buzzer sounded at the end of the third quarter to give Denton a 37-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
After Mariah Seastrunk, who scored six points, made it 39-25 to open the fourth, the Lady Hornets went on a 7-0 spurt to get within 39-32. However, the Lady Broncos answered Azle with two steals in the final two minutes to secure the victory.
The Lady Broncos finished 9-20 and 4-10 in district, but ended the season winning their last two district games.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
DENTON 75, AZLE 45
Azle — Slayton Vaughan 21, Jamie King 11, Rico Martinez 3, Tristen Wilbanks 3, Colton Bagwell 3, Tristen McDaniel 2, Garett Thompson 2.
Denton (15-13, 10-2) — Michael Jackson 16, Adarian Harris 14, Ryan Daniels 11, Manny Patterson 10, Erik Dixon 8, Deamonte Hughes 7, DeRodney Thomas 4, Romeo Purvis 3, Chavis Johnson 2.
DENTON 42, AZLE 37
Azle — Payton Berger 8, Danielle Yzaguire 8, Valerie Matlock 8, Rebekah Foster 5, Taylor Fulger 5, Katelyn Crow 2.
Denton (9-20, 4-10) — April Pena 11, Myesha Taylor 7, Victoria Amadi 6, Le’andra Johnson 6, Mariah Seastrunk 6, Jordan Mazziotta 4, Lyric King 2.