Sloan Young fights for the jump ball. Photos Courtesy Jamie Hockenbary

Basketball 2023-24 Season Begins

Belle Fourche News Sports

Belle Fourche started their 2023-24 season for both the boys and girls teams on December 8th at Spearfish. Each team came away with the loss to tough Spartan teams, but show promise for a competitive season. The Broncs competed a week later in the State Line Classic tournament, which was hosted in Belle Fourche this year. The tournament has Sundance and Newcastle play Lead/Deadwood and Belle Fourche boys and girls, JV and Varsity, teams. Belle Fourche teams played Sundance on the night of Friday, December 15th and Newcastle the following afternoon.

Lady Broncs vs Spartans

After a 10 point deficit in the first quarter, the Bronc girls stayed within reach of the Spartans for most of the game and even took the lead at one point. It was 37-44 in the fourth quarter when Mataya Ward jumped a Spartan pass and took it back to the Bronc hoop for a layup. The team in purple got another defensive stop and Lily Nore sunk a 3 pointer to bring the team within four points with a few minutes left. Spearfish stalled out the final minutes forcing Belle to foul for possession and stopping the clock. Spartan’s extra free throws separated the final score to 48-57.

Ward led the Broncs with 19 points of which 9 were from free throws. She also added 7 rebounds and 4 steals. Nore chipped in 12 points and Sloan Young added 10. As a team, the Broncs were 15/22 on free throws, had 8 assists, and 30 rebounds.

The Spartans matched the Broncs in rebounds, were 9 for 12 on free throws but had 8 players with points on the board. Leaders for the maroon team were Mya Kochuten and Jozie Dana with 15 and 18 points, respectively.

Girls vs Sundance

The first two possessions saw Ward break the ice with a post move followed by a Nore steal. Larson had a good drive and euro step for the second Bronc bucket. Sundance gathered momentum to tie the game at 6-6 with three minutes left in the first quarter. Young jumped a Bulldog pass at 5:30 left in the second quarter then dribbled it across the court to find Nore for a baseline jumper taking the lead at 15-13. Sundance couldn’t answer and Kailey Nowowiejski found the hoop for two to make it 17-13. Young got another steal and went coast to coast for an and-1 layup. Score at half time was 23-17, Belle Fourche in the lead. The Lady Broncs found their rhythm during the third quarter and took a commanding lead of 42- 27 by the end of the period. The Bulldogs showed up for quarter four making back-to-back buckets before Nore squared up for her pretty three pointer to get the Broncs rolling again. Sundance went on a 11-4 run to bring the score back within reach with 2:12 left in the game. Making some defensive stops and running the score down, the broncs used a well -designed side-lines out of bounds play at 1:12 that left Ward wide open for 2 easy points. Sundance gathered another 2 from the free throw line and Larson took a steal to the basket to make the score 50-40 with 41.7 seconds left. Several Sundance time outs and free throws later, the Broncs stayed on top for the final buzzer, 50-44.

Boys vs Sundance

The boys started out strong and played some great basketball. Nolan Wahlfeldt had backto-back offensive rebounds, putting the second one in for 2 points on the first possession of the game. Rexton Audiss put in one of two free throws and Wahlfeldt sunk a 3. Sundance called a timeout with 5:03 left, having yet scored to counter the Bronc’s 6 points. Sern Weishaar dropped a three then drove for a layup, scoring the last points of the first quarter and separating the Bronc lead to 12-3. Jet Jensen came alive in the second quarter dropping four three-pointers and two free throws, but so did the Bulldog’s offense tightening the score 26- 21 at half.

Sundance scored the first points of the second half with an and-1 layup. Belle Fourche answered with a Wahlfeldt steal for an open layup and Rance Bowden deflected a pass to make it two defensive stops in a row. Score still favored the Broncs at the end of the third, 40-36. The Bulldogs brought out all the weapons, scoring 22 points in the fourth to the Broncs’ 9, giving Sundance the win 58-49.

Coach Pottorff liked the boys’ efforts in the first quarter. “The boys’ had a sharp first quarter. [The Bronc boys] rebounded really well to start the game. Rebounding saw a slight dip in the second half and we let too many open shots happen in big situations.”

Jensen led the offense with 26 points followed by Wahlfeldt with 11. For Sundance, Keaton Mills, Jake Schommer, and Parker Skeens all found double digits with 16, 13, and 11 points apiece.

Broncs vs Newcastle Girls

The Lady Broncs controlled the tempo of the game from the start, staying in the lead for the entire game and dominating the floor both defensively and offensively. With a running clock the last 2 minutes, the score finished 71-41.

Belle Fourche vs Newcastle Boys

The Bronc boys had another strong start to take off on a 10-0 run in first minute and half of the game. They continued to move the ball around, getting Wahlfeldt, Jensen, Bowden, Harvey Walding, and Gavin Pearson all on the board in the first quarter.

The Newcastle Dogies couldn’t match the pace, ending quarter one 25-12. Jordan Sandoval and Audiss added themselves to the book in quarter two, and strong defense held the Dogies to a lone 5 points for the nine minutes of play. The score at half time still strongly favored Belle Fourche, 49-17. Newcastle was able to keep up with the Broncs in scoring during the third quarter, but the team on purple held the lead 61-27. The visiting team really came alive to score 16 points in quarter 4, but it was too little too late. Isaac Voyles scored the lone fourth quarter bucket for the Belle Fourche boys, and the home team came away victorious 63-43. Coach Potorff thought the boys played with “much better rhythm and flow today. Everyone played hard defensively and ran the floor well.” Newcastle offense was commanded by Wyatt Cole for 17 points. Jensen, Wahlfeldt, and Bowden had 24, 16, and 10 points, respectively.

Both teams are now 2-1.

The girls will play Thursday, December 21st, at home against Watertown and then both teams will travel up to Hot Springs for a double-header on the 22nd.

The following Friday is another home double header versus Red Cloud starting with C teams mid-morning.

The new year starts out with three double headers at St Thomas More on the 2nd, at Douglas on the 6th, and home against Lead/Deadwood on the 9th.