Denton head coach Dennis Krishka has been imploring his team recently to show more heart and determination.
On Friday night in the Lady Broncos’ District 5-4A opener against Trophy Club Nelson, Denton was woefully inefficient on offense through three quarters, but charged back in the fourth quarter on the back of their defensive energy and revitalized offense.
However, the Lady Broncos couldn’t execute an inbounds play with less than five seconds to go as the pass went for a turnover and lost 25-23.
“It’s a tough loss,” Krishka said. “We could be right there [in the district]. Byron Nelson and Guyer are picked to win this thing. We certainly had our chances. Every night is going to be a battle in this district. I’ve got to side on the side of optimistic. I told our kids they can’t hang their heads.”
Tralyn Woodard’s eight points paced the Lady Bobcats, and Krishka had respect for her athleticism and driving ability, so he had his team give more of a defensive cushion to her through three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Broncos forced several turnovers with a different strategy. Once they had their defensive coverage on the same page, they were finally able to convert the turnovers into easy transition buckets.
“Their point guard [Woodard] is so good that we didn’t feel like we could extend the floor on them too much, but sometimes you’re wrong,” Krishka said. “In the last two or three minutes when we had to scramble, we turned them over and gave ourselves a chance. Hindsight is 20-20. I’ve been around this long enough to know that sometimes it doesn’t work for you and sometimes it does. We just couldn’t get it done at the end.”
April Pena led the Lady Broncos with eight points.
The winter weather forced both the girls and boys teams into a different funk — something Krishka thinks moderately hindered his team, but he was still encouraged with their grit and fight.
“We haven’t practiced since last Thursday,” Krishka said. “We gave [Wichita Falls] Rider three really good quarters on the road before we kind of faded, and tonight we battled right to the end. I can’t say enough about our effort, our work ethic and our hustle. It’s all about the fight, we keep telling them, and that’s what they did.”
Hebron 67, Denton 44
In the Broncos’ bout against 5-5A foe Hebron, Denton hung around in the first quarter, but trailed 52-23 after the third quarter and was unable to mount a comeback despite opening the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run with their trap defense.
“We tried to spread them out and make them chase, but I thought if we could get more defensive opportunities on the rebounds, I thought we could get out and beat them down the floor with our quickness,” Denton head coach Harold Jackson said. “They controlled the boards and we were unable to.”
Adarian Harris led the Broncos in scoring with 12 points, while Tyler Williams paced the Hawks with 16 points.
Jackson also said the weather had an effect on his young team as it forced them to miss several key games.
“It’s only our sixth game with a very young team, so we are still trying to figure out how all the pieces work, and a lot of the young, inexperienced guys are still trying to figure out how to play at the varsity level,” Jackson said. “You need those games to build the experience going forward.”
The Broncos will enter their district portion of their schedule against Lake Dallas at home on Tuesday before facing crosstown rival Guyer on the road Friday.
“We’re going to have to improve and learn on the fly and hopefully we can start doing that,” Jackson said. “Hopefully we can come out and compete really well against an improved Lake Dallas team. Hopefully we can play well against the preseason No. 2 team in Denton Guyer. It’s a difficult task, but we’re up to it.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.
Trophy Club Nelson 25, Denton 23
Nelson (12-2, 2-0) — Tralyn Woodard 8, Shaila Wolter 8, Dekesha Butler 6, Sydney Smallwood 3.
Denton (6-6, 0-2) — April Pena 8, Alex Mcintosh 4, Mariah Seastrunk 4, Taylor Allison 4, Key-Alia Wafer 2, Taylor Seastrunk 1.
Hebron 67, Denton 44
Hebron (6-5) — Tyler Williams 16, Jeremy Hicks 12, Isaiah Gary 8, Austin Enloe 8, Conner McClennghan 6, Logan Lakke 4, Ryan Sherrod 4, Justin Montgomery 4, LaRandall Seroggins 4, Brett Eldorado 1.
Denton (1-5) — Adarian Harris 12, Deamonte Hughes 10, Curtis Stevenson 6, Emerson Espinoza, Zac Muthiani, Dolen Nicholson 2, Edson Vasquez 2, Keyandre Hearvey 2.