The Broncos defeated Aztec 67-39 at Bronco Arena on Thursday night.
Kirtland Central (9-13, 1-1 District 1-4A) went into the locker room trailing by two points but quickly responded in the second half.
“We just didn’t play well and missed a lot of shots,” said Broncos’ head coach John Zecca of the first half. “But the second half was probably the best half we’ve played all season. We did a much better job taking care of the ball. We had 12 turnovers in the first half and only five in the second half.”
Aztec (8-12, 0-2) was unable to counter the Broncos’ physical play in the second half.
“They just came out and were a lot tougher,” said Tigers’ head coach Jody Christman. “They were just a lot more aggressive. I thought we did a good job on the glass in the first half and that kept a lot of possessions alive for us but, in the second half, we couldn’t match them.”
Christian Mackey had a huge game with 25 points and 15 rebounds for Kirtland in the win.
“Aztec’s a physical team, and we need a guy to match that and there’s no one better than him,” Zecca said of Mackey. “He had a good all-around game with five or six blocks, too.”
Bud Willie chipped in 10 points for Kirtland in the win.
Wyatt Schlueter led the Tigers with 13 points.
Aztec will look to rebound against district-leaders Farmington next Thursday.
“We’re going to have to play with a lot more energy,” Christman said. “We have to stay active in the second half, this is the second time we’ve been close and got things handed to us in the second half.”
Kirtland will look to build on the win against Piedra Vista on Saturday.
“It’s another district battle that I expect to be close,” Zecca said. “They have a better record, but if we can play like we did in the second half, then I expect it to be another close one.”