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The Broncos saw their hopes for a spot in the CIF playoffs vaporize Thursday night with a 37-60 loss to the HDL champion Desert Scorpions. But, just the fact Bishop had a shot at the playoffs is a mark of the teamâ€™s progress this year.
Broncos coach Ben Arcularius knew this season was the first step toward a strong basketball program.
Bishop fields exceptional football and baseball squads in the High Desert League where the other schools excel on the court, making Arculariusâ€™ first step a big one.
If a team gives itself excuses for losses, itâ€™s doomed. That being said, the introductions of seniors at the beginning of the seasonâ€™s final game was telling.
Matt Babb, Qui Barlow, Darren Spoonhunter and Chance Callahan were up first, all in street clothes. Callahan, injured at the end of football season, played part of the final quarter in Bishopâ€™s road trip to Kern Valley. Babb went out with injuries early in the season; Barlow and Spoonhunter suffered season-ending injuries in the final weeks.
The Broncosâ€™ effort at Thursdayâ€™s game was exceptional, but they couldnâ€™t catch a break. The Scorpions were too tough on rebounds and should have been arrested for grand theft ball. If Bishop couldnâ€™t score on their first shot, they were toast.
The first quarter ended with the Broncos behind by 6, at 8-14.
Bishop stayed close to Desert each quarter, hitting 10-13 in the second and 12-14 in the third.
Then came the fourth quarter. Desertâ€™s momentum carried them through a 7-19 scoring run.
The good news: Cy Scott and Jarred Ruelas will be back next year and sophomores Carl Olson and Kyle Miller have turned in strong performances in varsity. If Arcularius can just wrap his players in protective bubbles, next yearâ€™s step wonâ€™t be so steep.