The ninth grade Spring Hill Broncos Boys Basketball team competed in the Sunflower Games in Topeka on July 23 -25 and came home with third place.
The games had nine teams in the Broncos’ division. The Broncos won three games and lost one game in pool play, and was the one seed going into bracket play. In the first game of bracket play the Broncos faced the Osage County Stars and fell to them, 52 – 60. The Broncos rebounded from this lost and went on to take third place by defeating the Topeka All City Thunder, 33 – 28.
The games did not start off the way the Broncos would have liked, losing to Emporia by a score of 39 – 42 in their first pool play game. Coach Hodge said the boys just couldn’t make the shots, shooting 33 percent from the field. We played some good defense, but just could not score. Leading the Broncos in scoring was Kainon Clark, Trevor Cluck and Jordan Martin with eight points each. Konner Green chipped in with six points. Leading rebounder was Clark with 10 while the assist leaders were Cluck, Danny Hodge and Austin Jager.
Next up for the Broncos was the Wamego Raiders. The Broncos took out some frustration and scored at will, winning 54 – 19. Clark dominated the inside and led the Broncos in scoring with 22 points. He also had three steals.
Others scoring for the Broncos included Green with six, Martin with six Hodge with five, Riley Thomas with five, and Cluck and Jager each scored four points. Dalton Young controlled the boards and grabbed a team high six rebounds. Chris Bybee had five steals and Hodge led the team in assists with four.
The third game of the day for the Broncos placed them against the JW Tigers II. The game was close at the start, but the Broncos ran away with the game late, winning 39 – 16. Coach Hodge praised the play of Bybee in this game; he broke out of a shooting slump and let the team with 11 points and three steals. Clark and Green helped out with the scoring with eight and seven points respectively. Clark and Cluck led the team in rebounds with eight each. Michael Londene did a great job on defense; he had four steals and three rebounds. Bybee, Jager and Thomas each had great games on defense as well, combining for 12 steals.
The Broncos would face an undefeated All City Thunder team in their fourth game of pool play. We really wanted this team and needed a win to ensure a first place seed going into bracket play, Coach Hodge said. The game was close at halftime with the Broncos leading 21 – 15, but during the second-half the Broncos out scored the Thunder by a score of 28 – 19 and won 49 – 34.
Cluck played his best game of the tournament scoring 14 points and getting five steals. Clark also scored 14 points while bringing down a game high eight rebounds. Bybee had nine points, all coming from behind the three-point line. Thomas and Young also chipped in with six and four points. Hodge and Jager were the assist leaders.
During Bracket play the Broncos squared off with the second seed from the other pool, the Osage County Stars. The game was tight early, but the Stars pulled away late in the first-half, holding a 30 – 18 lead. The Broncos did not give up and fought back from 19 down in the second half to get within four points, before losing 60 – 52. Bybee was hot late, making three, three-pointers and he ended up with 14 points. Cluck also had a good offensive game with 15 points, including two, three -pointers. Clark, Hodge and Londene rounded out the scoring with nine points, five points and four points respectively.
The loss in bracket play placed the Broncos in the third place game, where they squared off against the Topeka All City Thunder. The Broncos played this game without Bybee and Hodge who had to leave because they were attending the Mario Chalmers basketball camp in Salina, Kan. Coach Shannon Martin led the Broncos in this game as the Broncos took a 14 – 9 halftime lead and withstood a late rally by the Thunder to win, 33 – 28. The Broncos were led by Clark’s 13 points and seven rebounds. Cluck scored nine points,
Londene scored five and Young helped out with four points. Londene also had four rebounds and played his best game of the tournament. Thomas and
Jager played great defense and each of them had four steals.