HOUSTON (Covering Fort Bend News) – When Fort Bend Bush gave up 14 straight points in a span of seven minutes during the first half against Spring Woods Friday night, you could have injected any metaphor you like as guidance for the Broncos to find their way back into the lead: keep chopping wood, keep punching, don’t let go of the rope. The Broncos started with an 8-2 lead, but soon squandered it and found themselves on the wrong end of a 16-8 score with four minutes left before halftime.
Even though they persevered in playing hard, hustling after loose balls and blocking shots, the hard work didn’t pay off as soon as the Broncos ended the scoring drought. The 8-point deficit they faced grew to 12 on a three-pointer by Jesse Zarzuela for a 23-11 advantage with two minutes left in the first half. Zarzuela led all scorers with 19 points.
The Bush shots weren’t falling from outside, 6’8” Broncos’ post Stephen Farramade spent most of the first half on the bench with foul trouble and the Coleman Coliseum crowd was roaring. A Farramade slam-dunk quieted the Tiger faithful briefly in the second quarter, but their lead was still eight points (25-17) at halftime.
Generally speaking, defense is a constant in basketball. Responding to the gospel of relentless defense that first-year head coach Brandon Gay preaches, the Broncos rode their tenacious “D” to victory, 52-46, on a night when the offense ran hot and cold. Spring Woods (26-8) couldn’t prevent Bush’s long arms and quick hands from creating critical turnovers that turned the tide.
After three periods, Bush trailed by nine, 37-28. To start the fourth quarter, Broncos’ guard Braelon Joe (15 points) dropped a three-point bomb that cut the lead to 37-31, and it started a momentum shift. Danny McAdory blocked several shots on the night, but his most spectacular rejection ended up in the third row in the second minute of the final period. Point guard DJ Stewart stripped the Tigers’ Nico Hardin of the ball near mid-court and streaked in for a layup, Joe nailed another trey, then followed that up with an “and-one” layup. Even though he missed the free throw, the Broncos had stampeded back into the lead, 38-37, with a 7-0 run.
At that point, the Broncos quickly surrendered four straight points. Then, just as abruptly, they tightened the defensive vise. A Stewart steal and a dish to Ariel Mauricio (13 points) led to a three-point play. A Joe steal led to a putback bucket from sophomore Jackson Morris that put Bush (25-10) on top for good with less than three minutes to go.
Now, in the third round of the playoffs the Broncos will face Sam Houston, which eliminated Bush’s Fort Bend ISD brethren, the Travis Tigers, 64-59. The Elkins Knights advanced in another portion of the Region III-6A bracket with an 88-75 win over Houston Lamar. Elkins meets Morton Ranch Tuesday at Katy ISD’s Merrell Center.
Fort Bend ISD woke up Saturday morning with four teams (three boys’ and one girls’) still alive in the postseason. In Class 5A, the Hightower Lady Hurricanes eliminated Magnolia West to face Manvel in Saturday’s Region III-5A final, and the Hightower boys’ 53-46 win Monday over Barbers Hill put them in a third-round matchup Monday vs. Texas City.
Listen to the podcast of Frday’s boys’ basketball playoff game between Fort Bend Bush and Spring Woods at https://www.spreaker.com/show/fort-bend-sports-powered-by-vype. Also, listen LIVE Saturday at that same link to hear two baseball games in the Katy ISD tournament, weather permitting: Fort Bend Travis vs. Katy Taylor at 11 a.m. and Fort Bend Austin at Cinco Ranch at 5 p.m.