It’s still early into the district schedule, but after Friday’s 71-41 victory over visiting Azle, the Denton Broncos are sporting a 4-1 record against District 5-4A opponents and look to have their inexperienced ship heading in the right course after a shaky start to the season.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to find some victories,” Denton head coach Harold Jackson said. “We’re far from finished. District is far from over. We’ve got nine games left, so we’ve got to come out and prepare and work hard.”
Senior Adarian Harris led the Broncos with a game-high 16 points, while Curtis Stevenson had 15 and Keyandre Hearvey added 11.
With Denton managing a one-point lead after the first quarter at 17-16, its second-quarter effort was predicated on perhaps its largest strength this season: defense.
The Broncos (6-9, 4-1 district) stiff-armed their way into the second half with a 28-8 second quarter, which they used as the crucial buffer for the rest of the game.
“Any good basketball team wants to be built on the defensive end, and we’re just trying to emulate what good basketball teams do,” Jackson said. “We want to play hard, try to limit their possessions and force turnovers.”
The closest the Hornets (2-13, 0-4) came was within 19 points as the Broncos used their solid defensive positioning to coerce Azle into a bevy of turnovers which meant easy, fast-break points for Denton.
Azle 40, Denton 30
The Lady Broncos are like a spaceship heading through the galaxy before finally hitting an asteroid field. They gain momentum, hold a steady burst, but with the first sign of trouble, they wither at the mercy of the opposition.
The minefield isn’t always in the first quarter or the last, but in recent games, Denton head coach Dennis Krishka has noticed it’s that momentary lack of composure that ensures their demise.
“We have two- or three-minute lapses in every game that cost us,” Krishka said. “That period in this game was that stretch in the third quarter. They had a possession and we fouled them five times in that possession. That completely changed the game. Number one, it put them on the free-throw line. Two, it put a couple of our people in foul trouble. That changed the whole momentum.”
Desperately struggling on offense lately, Krishka made a few changes with hopes to improve scoring, but it affected their defensive strengths, so they reverted back to their normal man-defense midway through the game.
“We tried a little different lineup tonight,” Krishka said.” We played a little zone for a while. We mixed things up that way because we thought we needed to change up the personnel to get a little more offense, but the offense still isn’t there.”
Alex Mcintosh and April Pena led Denton with 10 points each.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.