Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Boys basketball: Broncos hold off late Boswell rally
Following Friday's win over Saginaw Boswell, Denton head coach Harold Jackson could not contain a bold smile. Even as he ushered everybody of off the court after the game, he held the same, satisfied grin on his face.
Jackson had every reason to be happy. The Broncos held off a late fourth-quarter rally by the Pioneers to hang on for a 51-47 victory. The victory gave Denton back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
After trailing at halftime by one point, the Broncos put pressure on Boswell on the offensive end. Denton made frequent trips to the free-throw line, scoring 11 of its 27 second-half points from the charity stripe. Denton shot 52 percent from the line in the second half, and 55 percent for the game on 17-of-31 free-throw shooting.
"We wanted to come out and keep the pressure on them, and keep being the aggressor in the second half, and we did that by getting them into early foul trouble and [into] the bonus in the third quarter," Jackson said.
J.J. Harper was dormant in the first half, but came alive in the third quarter, scoring seven of Denton's 13 points in the frame. Harper finished the contest with a team-high 11 points.
"He made a lot of plays for us," Jackson said. "Every time Boswell made a run, he was the guy to make a key bucket to stifle that run. He was huge in the second half for us."
Harper was forced to step up in the second half after Manny Patterson suffered a sprained ankle. Patterson, who was on crutches following the game, tallied nine points.
"When you lose a Manny Patterson, then you start to go into the bench," Jackson said. "Luckily the guys going in, especially Isaac and Ezekiel Johnson, they came in and stepped up defensively for us."
The aggressive play by Denton (3-11) not only led to frequent trips to the free-throw line, it also forced a couple of Bowell (3-10) players to leave the game. Caleb Jewell and Salem Starks both fouled out in the fourth quarter. The disqualifications forced Boswell head coach Don Boen to shake up his lineup."I'm not saying we didn't foul," Boen said. "I'm just saying it's huge when you lose two of your starters. We had to play three post men. We don't really have an offense for three posts."
After Starks exited the contest for good, Harper hit one of two free throws to give Denton a 44-35 lead with less than five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, its biggest lead of the game.
The Pioneers cut the deficit to 47-45 in the final stages of the contest. Drew Windus played a large part in the comeback, scoring eight of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter.
However, Boswell was unable to complete the comeback as the Broncos made enough free throws down the stretch.
Jackson said the victory was huge for a young squad that returned only one player with a considerable amount of varsity experience from last season, senior forward Rodney Brown, who scored five points in the victory.
"A lot of these guys are getting varsity experience on the fly, so this is new for them," Jackson said. "It does a lot for our confidence. It lets them see that if we play hard for long stretches, good things will come out of that."
Denton 51, Saginaw Boswell 47
Denton 11 11 13 16 -- 51
Saginaw Boswell 11 12 10 14 -- 47
Denton (3-11) -- J.J. Harper 11, Manny Patterson 9, Wendall Williams 8, Rodney Brown 5, Ezekiel Johnson 4, Isaiah Johnson 4, D.J. Hicks 3, Matthew Perry 3, Michael Richardson 2, Chris Moore 2.
Saginaw Boswell (3-10) -- Drew Windus 16, Kendrick Sallis 7, Cedrine Ouma 8, Sheldby Shrock 6, Jaurus Huston 4, Salem Starks 3, Caleb Jewell 2, Eddie Powell 1.