The Coast Union High School boys basketball team turned the table on its early-season fate in a handful of tough non-league games with a bounce-back game against Orcutt Academy.
After losing to the same team 41-24 on Nov. 30, the Broncos defeated the Spartans on their court 44-35 on Dec. 5.
The Broncos scored 15 points in the second and third quarters to pull away. Junior Nate Markham had 17 points and seven rebounds, and senior Forrest Johnson scored 15 points (including four 3-pointers).
The Broncos defeated Coast Valley League opponent San Luis Obispo Classical Academy 61-36 on Dec. 4. Markham tallied 28 points in the win over the Grizzlies.
Coast head coach Gehrig Kniffen said his team has “gotten a lot tougher” and has “stopped shying away from the physicality of the game... and we’re getting better defensively.”
The Broncos followed up the Orcutt win with a 54-35 loss to Thacher in the Ojai Valley Classic Tournament before notching two wins to close out the tournament, 43-33 against Laguna Blanca on Dec. 7 and 55-46 against Bishop Diego the next day.
Kniffen said in an email he needs to do a “better job of making mid-game adjustments,” but the first-time head coach added, “the one thing I didn’t expect (as he approached his first coaching assignment) was just how much fun this group would be. I genuinely enjoy going to practice... and sharing my love of the game with them.”
The leading scorer for the Broncos coming into this week is Markham with 98 points; Johnson has 48 points. Markham also leads the team with 49 rebounds and 11 assists.
Coast Union played Maricopa on Tuesday, Dec. 11 (late for press) and will then hit the road to play Coastal Christian (Dec. 14) and Morro Bay (Dec. 19). The Broncos will then play in the V.C.A. Tourney Dec. 27-29.
The Broncos’ next home game will be their third game against the Spartans, set for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 7. It will be broadcast on KTEA-FM (103.5) and streams live on www.1035ktea.com.