Feb. 18—DALEVILLE — With COVID-19 stoppages, lineup changes and the departure of a top player, it has been an up-and-down season for the Daleville Broncos. While Wednesday’s rivalry game against Cowan looked like a negative on the scoreboard, there were positives to take away for coach Tyler Stotler.
Six-foot-9 senior Riley Duncan scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half on his way to a triple-double, and the Blackhawks held off a Broncos third-quarter rally for a 46-39 win over the Broncos.
With the loss, Daleville dropped to 6-9 while potential sectional opponent Cowan improved to 9-7.
Despite Duncan’s 17 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocked shots, the Broncos won the overall rebounding battle 39-38 and committed just five turnovers, compared to seven by Cowan.
“That’s the best we’ve played since we lost to Frankton (Feb. 9),” Stotler said. “We followed the game plan. Our purpose and focus was there. There were some little things that came back to bite us tonight.”
One of those little things was free throws.
Trevion Johnson gave Daleville a 2-0 lead with a pair at the stripe to open the game. But, the Broncos then missed seven of their next eight attempts on their way to finishing 7-for-14, and — as Stotler points out — the total missed free throws mirrored the final margin.
“Seven-of-14 and we lose by seven,” Stotler said. “That’s the game right there.”
Early on, the game went through Duncan as well as former Liberty Christian guard Quentin Edmonds-Long, now a starter at Cowan.
Edmonds-Long scored from the baseline to give the Blackhawks their biggest lead of the first half at 15-7 in the first quarter.
After a Justin Grant 3-point basket pulled the Broncos back within 15-12, Duncan scored on a dunk, and Edmonds-Long hit a pair of free throws — he was 5-of-5 at the stripe — to give Cowan some cushion. Two Duncan free throws helped the Blackhawks into the locker room with a 26-19 advantage.
Two more Edmonds-Long free throws opened the third period for a 28-19 Cowan lead, but those were the only points of the quarter for the visitors.
Johnson scored six straight points — four on transition layups and two on a rebound basket — before Meryck Adams scored on a steal and layup to pull the Broncos within 28-27 heading to the final quarter.
But Duncan scored four and Edmonds-Long added two as Cowan opened the final quarter on a 6-0 run to extend the lead to 34-27. Twice in the fourth quarter — at 35-31 on a pair of Cayden Gothrup free throws and at 37-33 on a Johnson basket — the Broncos pulled within four points but could never whittle away enough to make it a one-possession game.
Overall, Stotler was happy with the effort and said he’d take his chances with Cowan scoring 46 points.
“We like to believe we’re not going to go 7-of-14 at the free-throw line again,” Stotler said. “If we continue to do what we did tonight, the outcome may be a little different.”
Johnson led Daleville with 16 points and added six rebounds while Gothrup scored seven points with seven rebounds. Sophomore Dylan Scott came off the bench to lead the Broncos with 10 rebounds and five assists.
Edmonds-Long scored 15 points and had eight rebounds as he and Duncan accounted for 32 of the team’s 46 points.
Daleville will travel to Wapahani for a Mid-Eastern Conference battle Friday night.
Daleville’s junior varsity squad posted a 51-39 win over Cowan, led by 17 points from junior Keaton Ferrell.
Contact Rob Hunt at [email protected] or 765-640-4886.