KERSEY — For the second weekend in a row, Platte Valley athletes were tenaciously working their way toward the goal, orchestrating a tough, physical defense, trying to limit turnovers and capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes.
The Broncos’ football team refined the strategy to the point of nearly winning a Class 2A state title last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Platte Valley’s boys basketball team is a work-in-progress as it opened a brand new season Saturday with just a handful of practices under its belt.
With a new head coach and a roster full of players still making the transition from football to basketball, the Broncos fell to Peak to Peak, 57-49, in a sloppy nonleague season opener.
Platte Valley had nearly twice as many turnovers (32) than made baskets, sinking 17-of-55 shots.
“You can see that we just weren’t working together, because we’ve only been (practicing) together for a week,” Broncos senior center Dillon Joens said. “You can see that we’re out of (basketball) shape, too. Half of us don’t even have varsity experience. We just need to get used to the game.”
Joens is one of five Platte Valley hoops players who are just a week removed from wrapping up a football season in which they were the state tournament runner-up to Kent Denver.
Broncos coach Greg Cordova has taken over Platte Valley (0-1) this year with Dave Mekelburg retiring after 19 years coaching the Broncos.
Cordova said his team merely needs time — and practice — to make the full transition from football to basketball.
“It’s always a factor when your football team goes deep in the playoffs, and you play against other teams that have a little bit more time to prepare,” he said. “We wanted to take away (Peak to Peak’s) 3-point shot. We limited them to three. Just easy layups and turnovers — that was the story of the night for us.”
Platte Valley’s lack of reps, in comparison to the Pumas (1-1), was apparent from the onset.
Peak to Peak quickly took a 10-2 lead after an Andrew Otey corner 3 less than 3 minutes into the game.
The Broncos battled back, engineering a 7-0 run, capped by a Dylan Butler 3, to trail just 10-9 with 2:03 left in the opening period.
Platte Valley maintained contact for much of the first half, even briefly taking leads in the second quarter before being outscored 19-9 in the third.
Led by dual 20-point scorers — Otey and fellow senior Max Clark — the Pumas attacked the hoop with regularity, extending a 28-27 halftime lead to 47-36 entering the fourth quarter.
“Our game is an up-tempo type of game, and we figured if we can get them in that tempo, they’re going to be tired,” Peak to Peak coach Tony Peters said of his squad’s late-game dominance.
Despite the loss, Platte Valley received a pair of strong post performances from big men Joens (teams-highs of 22 points, 12 rebounds) and fellow senior Brandon Gehring (7 points, six boards).
Gehring said once he and his teammates work out the kinks in its offense, their ability to control the paint could be a big factor in the guard-oriented 3A Patriot League.
“With having more post play, we can wear down opponent’s defenses and get the ball out to our guards to hit 3s,” Gehring said. “We have a lot of guys that can handle the ball and get it into the post.”
PPHS 16 12 19 10 — 57
PVHS 13 14 9 13 — 49
PVHS — Dillon Joens 9 4-6 22, Logan Sitzman 1 2-2 5, Cameron Maxey 2 1-3 5, Brandon Gehring 2 3-5 7, Zain Larson 1 0-0 3, Jordan Huwa 1 0-0 2, Dylan Butler 1 2-3 5, Jaybian Parras 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 12-19 49.
3-point field goals — PPHS 3 (Andrew Otey 2, John Howard); PVHS 3 (Butler, Larson, Sitzman).
Total fouls — PPHS 20; PVHS 18.