Denton started slow, turned it on and then had to hold off a furious Saginaw Boswell rally to claim a 62-59 Class 4A boys basketball bi-district victory Tuesday at Keller Timber Creek.
The Broncos (17-14) shot just 27 percent in the first half but kicked into gear in the second half, hitting 14 of their first 22 shots to open a 59-49 gap with 1:34 to play.
But they missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:19 to play and Boswell’s Cedrine Ouma scored to make it an eight-point game with 55 seconds left.
Denton made 3 of 6 free throws in the final seconds, turned the ball over and missed a layup. In the meantime, Zeke Horton hit a 3-pointer and Ouma had a basket to make it 61-56 with 11 seconds to play. Cedrick Berry hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to narrow the final margin to three.
“I told the kids at the half that we had to make sure that we got some defensive rebounds and pick up the pace,” Denton coach Harold Jackson said. “We were able to get the ball going and get some good looks in the second half. Give Boswell credit, they never quit, they played hard.”
Denton, making its first post-season appearance since 2010, advances to the area round against Trimble Tech on Friday at and a time and site to be determined. It marks the first time since 2005 that the Broncos advanced past the first round.
“It’s a big win for the program, the kids and the school,” Jackson said. “There are definitely a lot of things were going to have to work on before the next game, that’s for sure.”
Boswell (23-11), paced by Marqueith Russell with 13 and Dedrick Berry with 12, led by as many as seven in the first half, but had its edge trimmed to three by halftime.
The Broncos started the second half on an 11-4 run to take a 36-30 lead.
Michael Jackson led the way with 17 points and Ryan Daniels added 10 in the victory for Denton.
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