Denton High School Basketball Enjoying Best Season in 25 Years

by BoCarter | Posted on Friday, February 26th, 2016

Note: The University of North Texas Sports Journalism 4350 Class recently submitted feature stories on area high school basketball…Following are top stories from the project by UNT journalism students Alex Lilley and Scott Sidway…Denton (Texas) High School is in the second round of the state playoffs and 17-9 overall after defeating Birdville HS 73-40 on Fec. 23…

Denton High School thrashes Wichita Falls in 93-51 win
Big night for players and coach with 15th win

By Alex Lilley
Published: 02/09/2016

DENTON, Texas – There was no contest tonight in a high school basketball game where the Denton Broncos (15-1 overall, 11-1 district) dominated the Wichita Falls Coyotes (6-23 overall, 2-10 district) and almost reached the century mark in points.
The Broncos played with high-tempo and surged ahead of the Coyotes by 17 points in the first quarter, something Head Coach Harold Jackson continuously stresses.
“It’s always better to play from ahead in terms of how we try to dictate tempo.” Said Jackson, “So we dictate it early, and make teams speed up to try and match our tempo.”
Wichita Falls was able to end the half at 31-49, before being shut down in the second. Outscoring the Coyotes by 24 points in the second half, the Denton Broncos showcased their offensive and defensive abilities. They statistically won all across the board, leading in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks by more than double the Coyotes.
“My team’s goals each week is to force 20 turnovers,” said Jackson, “and get 40 rebounds.”
His team, playing on senior night, brought him 23 turnovers, and 48 rebounds and won in every facet of the game.
With four players scoring in the double digits, led by sophomore shooting guard Tyrus Johnson’s 14, the team overall shot 55.8 percent in field goals.
It was senior night for the Denton Broncos, but the team is playing for much more. Trailing only Chisholm Trail in district standings, the team is looking to earn its first regional championship since 1991. The Broncos look to prove they’re contenders in a rematch, of their only conference loss, to the Chisholm Trail Rangers next week.
Coach Jackson is also proving that his promotion from girls’ softball coach to head basketball coach is not a mistake.
The biggest test of all will be their biggest game of the season on Feb. 12 against CTHS.
Ed. Note: Chisholm Trail edged Denton 74-71 in overtime to win the District 6-5A before both teams advanced to the 2016 UIL tournament.
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Sports Journalism Class: Denton High Reaches For District Tilte

Scott Sidway | U. of North Texas Sports Journalism 4350

DENTON, Texas – The Denton High School Broncos had no problem taking down district foe Wichita Falls High School at the Purple Pit on Senior Night, dominating the Coyotes 93-51 on Tuesday.

The Broncos’ 93 points was a season high in scoring, led by sophomore guard Tyrus Johnson’s 14 points.

Senior Justen Mazziotta capped off senior night with the next highest scoring total on the Broncos (then 15-8, 11-1 district) with 11 points.

“I’m so proud of these guys,” head coach Harold Jackson said of his seniors. “Most of these guys have

been on varsity since they were sophomores, and this is their third straight year of going to the playoffs. It was a tremendous accomplishment for these young men.”

The game was a mismatch from the onset, with the Broncos towering over Wichita Falls (6-23, 2-10) in terms of size and stature. Denton High raced off to a 10-2 run to open the game and followed it up with a 16-5 run to take a commanding 28-11 point lead after the first quarter.

“It’s extremely important for us to get off to a good start,” Jackson said. “It’s always better to play from ahead and try to dictate tempo. We try to dictate tempo early, then we hopefully speed teams up to play at the tempo we’re trying to play at.”

The Broncos’ size advantage gave them a chance to execute Jackson’s game plan and dominate the glass to get out in transition. Denton High turned one defensive rebound early in the second quarter into a ferocious alley-oop slam from senior guard Emerson Espinoza to Johnson to spark a 13-4 run. But despite falling behind by nearly 30 points, Wichita Falls strung together a 12-4 run to end the half,

capped off by a buzzer-beating three pointer by Rodney Higgins to cut the halftime deficit to 49-31.

After a sluggish start by both teams to open the third quarter, the Broncos found their stride again,

blowing the game open to a 63-33 lead. Denton High’s size advantage became apparent in the third

frame, registering four blocks in the quarter and crashing the offensive glass on countless possessions.

As it was in the second quarter, the Broncos moved the ball with ease after dominating the glass.

Denton High finished the game with 23 assists and 48 rebounds, to go along with forcing 23 turnovers

on the defensive side of the court.

“We try to force 20 turnovers a game, and also we try to get our goal of getting 40 rebounds a game,”

Jackson said. “Those are the goals that we try to achieve. If we achieve those two goals, then we’ll come out successful.”

The Broncos kept the defensive intensity ratcheted up in the fourth quarter despite an already

commanding lead, cruising to a 22-7 quarter to ice the game. Denton High finished the contest shooting 55.8 percent from the field while holding the Coyotes to 38.9 percent, and out-rebounded Wichita Falls 48-26.

The size battle will be much more balanced when the Broncos challenge Chisholm Trail High School for sole possession of first place in District 5-5A on Friday, Feb. 12. Denton High won the first match-up with the Rangers 62-59, but Jackson said his squad still has plenty to improve for the rubber match.

“We’ve got to do a better job of playing defense with our feed and not our hands to stay out of foul

trouble,” Jackson said, referencing surrendering their 17-point lead in the third quarter the last time the teams played. “We’ve got to try and continue to control the tempo. I think the crowd will be extremely important to feed off. It’s the seniors’ last home game and the first opportunity for Denton High to be a district champion in 25 years. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”
Denton High hosts Chisholm Trail Friday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 pm. Ed. Note: Chisholm Trail edged the Broncos 74-71 in overtime to win District 6-5A by one game as DHS moved onto the UIL playoffs.
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