Broncos outmanned by league-leading Nederland, 76-44
He threw everything but the kitchen sink at their opponent, but nothing could stop the potent Nederland Bulldog attack on Tuesday night in the Runnin’ Broncos early district loss, 76-44.
Dayton coach Brian Courtney knew he was in for a long night with the Bulldogs (4-0 in district) and his team sporting a huge height disadvantage.
“There’s a reason why they are undefeated,” Courtney said. “He’s the best coach in the district and his kids are always well-prepared.”
Courtney threw every defensive tactic he could drum up with his players to slow them down.
“We gave them everything we could find to make them think in order to make plays. If you come out here in traditional basketball, they will pick it apart because they’re so well-coached,” he said.
“They’re going to have three or four different sets for every type of defense,” Courtney surmised.
The Broncos were able to slow down Texas A&M commit Hayden Heffner only allowing him 16 points for the game. And while the game in the paint was slowed considerably, the Bulldog surrounding cast picked up the slack and were draining three-pointers on the outside to burn the Broncos.
Nederland picked up 14 three-pointers on the night.
The Broncos fell behind early 24-9 in the first quarter but narrowed the gap briefly in the second quarter ending the first half with a 35-19 deficit at the break.
In the third stanza, the Broncos jumped on a quick run and began to threaten the Bulldog lead.
The Broncos went on a 9-2 run in the first two minutes of the third quarter to draw within a 12-point deficit, but Nederland responded with three straight three-pointers to pull away for good.
The Broncos were effective in forcing the ball out of the paint for Nederland away from Heffner and making the outside shooters step up and they did.
To force turnovers, the Broncos used a zone press, a box and one, diamond press, man press, and just about every other defense to affect some mistakes by the Bulldogs, but they didn’t bite.
“With our sets we were trying to create a movement to make the defense to have to make a mistake,” he said.
With the coaching across from midcourt, Courtney said they knew they weren’t going to be able to go down, make a pass, and shoot. He knew they were going to have to be creative to get the ball inside for their best look.
“His team is going to take away our best players, so you have to make the defense shift and move in such a way that they’re not accustomed to doing in a man offense,” Courtney described.
The loss adds to the 12-game losing streak that has the Broncos reeling.
“For us, that’s what our season has been about. We’ve challenged ourselves with ‘Am I going to play hard or not?’” the coach said.
Early in the season, he said, everyone is excited but once they got on a losing streak, it was hard to keep the energy level up.
“It’s tough. It’s human nature not to give as much effort, you don’t like the things that are going on, so you want to retract from what is hurting you. ‘I try hard and I lose, and I don’t like that’ kind of mentality,” he said.
Courtney said he was the happiest he had been in a while with their effort.
“That’s the first time I’ve been so happy with a 32-point loss. They didn’t quit. That’s what Dayton is all about,” he said.
Courtney said while the record doesn’t reflect the advances made by the team this year, his work is also off the court.
“Part of my job is also to teach them how to be a man,” he said as he became emotional, “and how to be a leader in their community, how to be a husband.”
“Sometimes kids aren’t ready for that message and even though the scoreboard doesn’t show their growth off the court, it’s much more valuable.”
The Broncos have district losses to Cleveland, Port Neches-Groves and Nederland with Barbers Hill and Port Arthur Memorial looming in the next couple of games.