Denton coach Harold Jackson knows his team is young. After all, there's only one returning varsity player from last season’s team and just two seniors overall. Growing pains are inevitable. But so too are opportunities for growth.
Friday night featured plenty of both.
After already dropping their first two district matchups, the Broncos were looking to snap a seven-game skid with Friday's home game against Justin Northwest to get back on track.
A dreadful first half put the Broncos in a deep hole early, and despite a furious comeback attempt, Denton could not close it out as they were dispatched by Northwest 64-50.
The Broncos struggled to find their footing in the first half, scraping together just 18 points through to Northwest’s 40 points. Then, the third quarter began and suddenly Denton looked as though it had life.
“The energy and effort picked up and we were able to knock some shots down and force turnovers,” Jackson said. “We had some really good defensive possessions where they weren't able to score, and we were able to climb back in the game.
“We had such a big hole that we were unable to climb out it.”
For a Texans squad that had shot the lights out of the ball during the first two quarters and feasted off second-chance opportunities, Northwest went ice-cold in the third quarter with just five points.
In turn, that allowed the Broncos to trim the lead to 45-30 and creep back into the game heading into the fourth. Denton made five consecutive 3-pointers, including two from Bryce Ashbaugh, who had 11 points, to cut the lead all the way down to 53-46 with just four minutes to go.
But it was too little, too late, as turnovers and the lack of rebounds plagued the Broncos for much of the night despite a 20-point final quarter and 14 points from sophomore Shane Wolfe.
“We just have to work on that in practice,” Jackson said of the Broncos’ miscues. “We need to try be a little bit more physical and make sure that we put the body-on-body to get the get the rebound.
“As far as the turnovers, we need to make sure that we read the defense properly and pass the ball on time, and on target.”
Then again, Denton is comprised of almost entirely first-year players and both the Broncos and Jackson know that nights like Friday’s game can lead and build to better things.
“I saw a lot of character and a lot of fight,” Jackson said. "They have no quit in them. So that’s something that we have to continue to build on.”