The Jackson Broncs basketball team has nothing to show for a weekend kickoff to conference play. Nothing in the ‘win’ column, that is.
The Broncs learned a few things about themselves over the weekend. On one hand, they are still capable of sleepwalking through a real stinker (Friday’s loss to Star Valley). On a more positive note, they didn’t lay down for a talented Green River team Saturday on short rest, and nearly pulled off a shocker of a comeback against the Wolves.
Star Valley 49, Jackson 36
The Jackson boys had every opportunity to open conference play with a win over archrivals Star Valley Friday but for two problems: the Broncs’ offense was a no-show and the Braves’ Croix Jenkins decided to use the game as his personal highlight reel.
Jackson was off and Jenkins went off.
Talk about a sluggish start. Neither team came out of the gate exactly lighting it up. But over the course of the first 16 minutes, Star Valley did enough to take a 21-10 lead into halftime. That’s not a misprint. Jackson scored a total of 10 points in the first two quarters.
It was dreadfully hard to watch.
The Broncs managed to close within 9 but never could get there despite Gavin Keelin’s 13 and Andrew Hanna’s 12 boards.
Green River 51, Jackson 48
Far from demoralized on a quick turnaround, the boys regrouped and hung with the offensive firepower of the Wolves Saturday afternoon.
Down by as much as 13 in the 3rd quarter, the Broncs finally made their move late when Gavin Keelin and Seb Brunner eventually got hot. A Keelin 3-ball knotted the score at 48-48 with 1:54 to play.
Jackson coach Hayden Hatfield and Green River coach Laurie Ivie then matched wits down the stretch—trading timeouts to whiteboard X’s and O’s strategy until just 7.9 seconds remained with the ball in the Wolves’ possession.
There was probably only one player Ivie had in mind to take the money shot and that was senior Dylan Taylor, who finished with a team high 16 on the afternoon. Green River knew it. Jackson knew it. The janitor waiting to clean up the gym knew it.
But when Hanna left Taylor for a split second to help out on a penetrating Caleb Lake, it left Taylor alone enough to knock down a 3 with barely any time left on the clock.
The Broncs did what they could to get the ball into the hands of their stud, Keelin, with 1 tick left but the inbounds pass never got there and the Broncs left their comeback just that short.
Keelin’s 18 was team high for Jackson. Hanna added 12 and Brunner, 9.
Jackson is now 3-5, 0-2 on the season. Headed to Teton on Wednesday night for a non-conference game with the Timberwolves.