HOLLY - The Holly Bronchos boys’ basketball team started 2014 at Brandon on January 3. The Bronchos entered that game as a prohibitive favorite against a struggling Blackhawks’ team.
Despite that, Brandon gave Holly a real fight before a Josh Simms’ free throw with no time left on the clock in overtime gave a Holly a 67-66 win. But Friday night at the Horsehoe, the Bronchos totally dominated the first quarter to roll to a 76-45 win.
After Brandon’s Nicholas Keller opened the game with an “and one” to give the visitors a quick 3-0 lead, Holly closed the first quarter with a 25-2 to run and never looked back.
A huge part of the impressive Holly start was the three first quarter three-pointers dropped in by Holly super soph, Kyle Woodruff. Woodruff tied the all-time Holly school record for three-pointers at 103 in the first quarter as he hit three of his four “threes” for the night in that first quarter, passing 2010 Holly grad Justin Fowler. He finished the night with 105 total three-pointers and only half way through his second season on varsity.
“It feels great,” said Woodruff. “That’s my thing, knocking down threes.” He credited a lot of Holly’s success on the offensive end with a change in the offense half-court offense Holly was running. “We definitely get a lot more movement (with the new offense). We get (Holly center) Logan Spiker more involved.”
Holly point guard Parker Rowse was key as well. Not a big scorer, the five foot ten junior artfully directed the Holly offense and led the Bronchos with an eye popping 13 assists. In talking about his passing prowess, he said, “It’s fun. I love doing that. He also said, “Our old offense didn’t work for this group that we have and it kind of showed. We needed to find an offense that fits us and we finally found one.”
Jake Daniels gave his usual strong effort on both ends of the floor. The heralded Holly junior led all scorers with 20 points. In talking about the new offense Daniels said, “We were looking for something to give us more movement and pretty much open up the floor and it turned out to be really good.” Daniels also had four steals.
It didn’t help the Blackhawks’ chances when senior big man Jake Sutherland picked up two fouls in the first quarter and fouled out in the second half, limiting him to only two points for the night. Keller led Brandon with 14 points. Fellow senior Dylan Morris had eight.
After consecutive disheartening home losses the last two Fridays, Holly coach Lance Baylis had nothing but praise for the Bronchos this night. In particular, while noting that the strong offensive performances are a given when talking about Woodruff, Baylis was particularly impressed with Woodruff’s play on the defensive end.
“We had good practices this week and guys got a wakeup call,” Baylis said. In explaining some of Holly’s recent difficulties he said that “most of our turnovers have come on three on twos and two on ones. How many turnovers did we have tonight, not many.” He then made a point that he wanted it specifically noted that Woodruff’s defensive efforts have not gone unnoticed by his Holly mentor. “Kyle is known for his shooting but that was his best defensive effort of the year.” He also complimented the strong floor leadership of Rowse in making what from all appearances was likely to be a close contest into an easy Holly victory.
Holly assistant coach Jason Lambert echoed the thoughts of Baylis. “With our team it all starts with defense,” said Lambert. “When we defend, when we rebound, when we are engaged and we are talking, we go in transition and that is what we are best at.” Point made. Point played by the Bronchos.
After Daniels’ 20 points and Woodruff’s 16, Holly’s Josh Simms had nine and Adam Tooley seven. Spiker had eight rebounds, Isaac Casillas seven and the diminutive Rowse chipped in six from his position at point guard.
Brandon fell to 4-5 in the Flint Metro League and 4-7 overall.
Meanwhile, Holly still has league title hopes while only one game back of league leading Lapeer West with the Panthers still having to come to the Horseshoe on February 18. Holly won the first meeting between the two at Lapeer. The Bronchos now are 8-2 in the league and 10-3 in all contests.