Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Broncos defeat New Deal, 75-56

By Sandy Anderberg

The 2017 Clarendon Broncos are flying high as they enter into the State Tournament in San Antonio this Friday, March 10.

The Broncos’ determination and ‘never quit’ strategy paid off in the Regional tournament, and they are hoping for the same in the state tournament.

Clarendon will take on Thorndale in the first round that will be played Friday, March 10, at 10:00 a.m. in the Alamodome in San Antonio.  The

Clarendon’s Marshal Johnson holds up the Regional Championship trophy after Saturday’s victory over New Deal. Enterprise Photo / Roger Estlack

Broncos are going in 30-2 and Thorndale is posting a 27-9 season record.  The Championship game will be played at 1:30 pm on Saturday, March 11.

This is the Broncos’ first return to the state tournament since 2011, and they earned the right to the tournament by owning the court against two very tough teams at the Regional Tournament in Levelland this past weekend.

They defeated second ranked Anthony on Friday in the first round and knocked off New Deal in the Championship game.  The Broncos struck early against both teams and commanded the momentum in each game.  Earlier in the week, they were able to punch their ticket to the Regional tournament by defeating a good Panhandle team for the third time this season.

On Tuesday, the Broncos got by the Panthers by the score of 51-44.  The Broncos jumped on them early and took an 18-5 lead after the first quarter of play.  At one point in the second quarter, the Broncos were up 25-5, but a momentum change allowed Panhandle to begin to get back into the game.  The Broncos held a 32-20 lead at the break, but the Panthers closed the gap to seven after the third period.  The Broncos were determined, however, and held on to get the seven-point win.

The Panther defense was all over Marshal Johnson, but he still managed 12 points from his post position.  Colt Wood put in 11 and Chance Lockhart added 10.  Bryce Grahn helped with nine, Bear Smith had six, and Keandre Cortez put in three.

That win took the Broncos to the Regional Tournament where they faced off against number two-ranked Anthony in the first round.  They were determined and sent the Wildcats packing at 68-64.

The Broncos would not succumb to playing the underdog and quickly set a precedent in the first quarter of play against Anthony.  They were able to take a 17-11 lead, which left the Wildcats struggling to get any offense going.   Anthony was able to close the gap somewhat in the second half, but all game long, the Broncos picked away at the Wildcats’ offense with their stellar defense to shut them down.  The Broncos did suffer from too many fouls and too many missed free throws, but they were able to overcome those adversities and get the win.

“We were able to get enough stops to win the game,” coach Brandt Lockhart said.  “We had two players foul out and the rest of the team stepped up.”

After defeating Anthony, the Broncos had the confidence they needed and were determined not to lose their momentum in the tournament.  They went out and demolished New Deal 75-56.

Offensively, things were rolling the Broncos way as they took an early 25-12 lead after the first eight minutes.  In that time period, the three-ball was flowing with six three-pointers made by Smith, Grahn, Wood, and Lockhart.  That scoring frenzy left the Lions helpless as they tried to get something going on their offensive end.  But once again, the Bronco defense was on fire and New Deal could do little to get the Broncos out of their rhythm.

Clarendon was also able to limit their fouls against the Lions and in turn shot 67 percent from the bonus line.  Their scoring stats were impressive as well.  Five Broncos finished in double figures.  That is just one more example of the dominance the Broncos executed on the court against the Lions.  “We shot the ball really well,” Lockhart said.  “We made 11 three pointers for the game.  We did a good job of moving the basketball.  I was very proud of the way we played and effort.”

Lockhart led the way with 21 and Wood put in 14.  Smith added 13, and Grahn and Johnson each had 12.  Jacob Jeffers went three for four from the line to add three points and K. Cortez was perfect from the charity stripe at two for two.

Check and for breaking news on the Broncos’ state tournament appearance.

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