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Shiprock junior guard Justin Begay splits the Bloomfield defense Thursday night at Broncos Arena in Kirtland.
KIRTLAND — The Shiprock boys’ basketball team made an early-season statement to District 1-3A with a blowout win over Bloomfield.
The Chieftains opened the Basin Tourney in Kirtland with a 79-57 over the Bobcats Thursday night.
Shiprock’s up-tempo style in the first half was the key for the Chieftains as they built an early lead.
“We were pressing full court. We didn’t do that in the first game,” said Chieftain head coach Chester H. Atcitty Jr. “We have a four-game schedule this week, so we wanted to come out and gain control of this game early.”
Shiprock (2-0) dominated from the opening tip, taking a 25-11 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Bloomfield (0-1) struggled with the Chieftain press defense, and Bobcat first-year head coach Devon Manning said limiting turnovers will be something his inexperienced team will need to work on going forward in the season.
“We have to handle pressure,” Manning said. “They dictated, dominated and controlled us from the opening tip until the last shot. We can’t just rely on the guards. All five guys have to come out and try to break their pressure.”
The Chieftains controlled the second quarter against the young Bobcats, as Shiprock took a 48-25 advantage into the halftime break.
Hiram Gleason scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half. Patdric Toehe also scored all 11 of his points in opening 16 minutes.
The Chieftains relied on reserves most of the second half to close out a 22-point victory.
Darryle Nelson led a balanced Shiprock attack with 16 points off the bench.
Dominique Todacheenie and Deron Johnson chipped in nine points apiece for Shiprock, while Justin Begay and Kevin Aspaas both notched seven points.
Michael Crockett led the Bobcats with 15 points, while Dulce-transfer Tristan Reddest added nine points in his first game for Bloomfield.
Shiprock will play today against Mesilla Valley for a spot in the championship game after Mesilla Valley defeated Whitehorse in its opener.
Bloomfield will continue its tournament against the host Kirtland Central.
The Broncos opened their own tournament with a surprising 57-49 loss to Ignacio.
The 2A school from Colorado hit eight 3-pointers in the upset victory.
Ignacio took a 30-20 lead into the halftime break, but the Broncos responded to start the third quarter with a 13-2 run to gain a 33-32 advantage with just over four and half minutes left in the quarter.
The Igancio defense shut out Kirtland for the rest of the quarter, ending the frame on a 6-0 run.
The Broncos weren’t able to regain the advantage at any point in the final quarter.
“We started taking bad shots for some reason,” said Kirtland head coach John Zecca. “They were collapsing down on Christian (Mackey), then other guys started forcing stuff instead of letting the game come to them. We have to have more scoring from some of those other guys. I thought Seldon Watson did a great job, and it’s because he was being aggressive. I shouldn’t have to tell these guys to be aggressive and go to the hole. They are playing too tentative.”
Mackey led the Broncos with 19 points, and Watson scored 10 more for the Broncos, including nine in the fourth quarter.
Clayton Jefferson scored 14 points to lead Ignacio Bobcats, and Kelton Richmond added 11.