Bronson boys hold on for hoops victory

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By Steve Waters, Sports Editor

 Bronson High School’s boys basketball team pulled away late to defeat the Branford Buccaneers 36-29 last Monday.

But according to coach Aaron Haldeman, the game shouldn’t have been even that close.

Trying to kill off time late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles missed several potential shots to pull even further ahead. But each miss gave the Buccaneers another chance to close the gap, leaving Haldeman frustrated despite the victory.

“Maybe we didn’t want to win,” he said. “Well, maybe we just didn’t know how to win. It’s would’ve been terrible if we lost. Winning’s a heck of a lot more fun than losing. But the way we got it was kind of disappointing.”

But a strong team effort carried the Eagles. Enrique Wiseman led Bronson with 12 points, six rebounds and three steals. Dustin Crutchfield wasn’t far behind, finishing with 11 points and six rebounds.

But Branford took control in the first, building an 8-point lead with 50 seconds to go. Crutchfield’s short jumper brought Bronson to within two, and he then added a slick layup as the buzzer sounded to tie the game at 8-8.

The Bucs scored four quick points to start the second quarter, until Zach Hamilton added four of his own, from two easy layups, to tie the game again at 12-12. The two teams battled back and forth for much of the quarter, with Branford controlling the tempo, until Wiseman added a buzzer beater of his own. His quick steal and layup in the final seconds of the half gave Bronson its first lead of the game at 18-17.

The Eagles came out swinging in the second half. Crutchfield added six points in the third quarter, holding off Branford as the Eagles closed the quarter with a close 29-26 lead.

In the fourth, Bronson’s defense found it’s place, holding Branford to only three points. Hamilton put the game away for the Eagles with a big mid-range jumper in the game’s final minute. But missed shots, when Haldeman told his squad to run down the clock, kept the game closer than it should have been.

Haldeman attributed the tense final minute to inexperience in an early period of the season. He said that are still implementing new plays and it could be awhile before the Eagles hit their stride.

“We’re just going to keep working in progression, keep taking those steps forward,” Haldeman said. We’ve got some plays that we’re still implementing, a couple of them a week. Right now we’re limited to what we’re doing, but we’re going to get there.

“We’ve gotten smarter,” he added. “But there’s still work to do.”