Wild ending against Star Valley, Green River ‘drift’ on Saturday for the Broncs

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The Jackson Broncs were again haunted by a lack of finish Friday night against archrival Star Valley. The letdown was palpable the following afternoon in Green River where the boys were never fully present against a Wolves team that just couldn’t miss a shot all game long.

Star Valley 59, Jackson 57

Jackson has been Sweet 16-Sour 16 all season. First halves—all 16 minutes of them—have been good to the Broncs. The boys start fast and bring energy to the building early. Then something happens. Composure, confidence, lack of cohesive leadership? Whatever it is that causes 2nd half collapses, the Broncs have to identify and fix.




 

Jackson enjoyed a 9-point lead at the half against the Braves Friday night, 34-25. Four and a half minutes into the 4th quarter that lead was gone as Star Valley’s Kort Hilton went off for 22 points and fueled a Braves comeback that had the visiting half of a packed gym roaring. Jacob Hodges also had a good game for Star Valley with a double-double (12 pts, 10 reb).

Andrew Hanna made 11 of the 15 shots he took from the field, and finished the night with 24 points to lead all scorers. AJ Fowler drained 5 from beyond the arc for 15 points on the night.

Shooting guard Seb Brunner was mysteriously parked for long stretches of both games over the weekend. He did not start either. When asked about it, coach Hayden Hatfield told Jackson Hole Radio’s Marie Kane it was nothing to do with Brunner.

“We had a lot of good guys play a lot of good minutes,” he said.

Hatfield noted the lack of rebounding in the game’s final seconds when Jackson sent Braves shooters to the line, got the misses they wanted, but failed to box out for the rebounds.

“We couldn’t get a rebound when we needed it,” Hatfield said. It’s toughness thing. They’ve got a lot of big, strong kids over there. It’s something we have to work on.”

Green River 69, Jackson 49

Was the Green River offense that good, or were the Broncs sleepwalking a little on defense? It might have been a little of both but give the Wolves credit, they shot lights out all game, hitting an astounding 44% of the shots they took from the field.

And their offense comes from a variety of halfcourt looks. This Green River team scores in transition, creates off penetration, or patiently sets up a weave with good ball movement to find an open man. And when they do get a look, they knock ‘em down.

Jackson looked sluggish in the early going, perhaps crusty-eyed from the 5:30am wakeup call to board the bus for GR. After allowing the Wolves an 8-0 run to start the game, the Broncs managed to pull within as close as 2 but just could not seem to flip the script as the Wolves kept getting good looks and production from the entire lineup.



AJ Fowler kept Jackson close for as long as he could. The sophomore sharpshooter was 4 for 9 from distance for 12 points. Andrew Hanna’s double-double (14 pts, 11 reb) and Gavin Keelin’s 12 also helped fuel Jackson’s bid to get close.

Next up

The Jackson Broncs fall to 7-10 overall, 3-6 in conference play. They head home for Senior Night this Saturday against Evanston for the final regular season game before Regionals begin.

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