KIRTLAND — The Kirtland Central boys’ basketball team bounced back from a disappointing Basin Tournament opener to pick up a victory over Bloomfield.
Junior Christian Mackey recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Broncos to a 54-30 victory over the Bobcats Friday night.
Mackey credited the contributions from his teammates that allowed him room to operate in the paint.
“We worked the ball around and hit a lot of 3-pointers,” he said. “That just makes my job a little easier, because I have a lot of shooters. We had both the inside game and the outside game.”
Kirtland (2-1) hit five 3-pointers in the game but needed 24 attempts to do so.
Head coach John Zecca is hoping his team will improve the outside shooting percentage as the season progresses.
“We played a lot better, but we’re still not shooting the ball as well as I think we can,” he said. “That comes with experience and confidence — shooting thinking it’s going to go in instead of hoping it goes in.”
Zecca said his team has cut down on turnovers and that is the biggest improvement he’s seen so far this year.
“We had a lot of turnovers against Los Alamos, but we cut them in half (against Ignacio) and then had even fewer today,” he said. “We knew Bloomfield liked to play a lot of zone, and we’re usually pretty good against the zone. Our system works pretty well against it.”
After a tightly contested first quarter in which Kirtland gained a 10-6 lead, the Broncos came out with a 14-1 run in the first three minutes of the second quarter to put the Bobcats away.
Bloomfield (0-2) never cut the deficit into single digits the rest of the game.
Bobcats head coach Devon Manning was disappointed with his team’s inability to limit turnovers for the second time in two games.
“If we play like I know we can, then we can play tough, but we have to cut down on our turnovers,” Manning said. “We probably had 20-plus turnovers tonight, and we can’t win with that.”
Bud Willie and Eli Charles chipped in eight points each for the Broncos.
Bloomfield was led by Tristan Reddest and Ray Sanchez who each had seven points for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats will play Whitehorse in the fifth-place game today, while Kirtland will match-up with Mesilla Valley.
Mackey is expecting the Broncos to get a similar result against the Sonblazers.
“Hopefully, we can play a game like we did today — come out, play hard and play as a team,” he said.
Shiprock defeated Mesilla Valley earlier in the tournament to advance to the title game against Ignacio.
The Chieftains (3-0) were led by Deron Johnson, who scored all of his team-high 11 points in the second half.
Johnson took the spot of Justin Begay after Begay took a blow to the head late in the second quarter.
Shiprock head coach Chester H. Atcitty Jr. said Begay suffered a concussion and he’s expecting the junior guard to miss at least a week.
“We’ll do a concussion test on him in the morning, but he definitely has a concussion,” Atcitty said. “He’ll be back, though. We just want the best health situation for him.”
Begay scored eight points in the first half before exiting at the 2:18 mark of second quarter with the head injury.
Dominique Toacheenie and Patdric Toehe also scored eight points for the Chieftains.
Shiprock took a 25-16 lead into halftime.
The Chieftains used a 21-8 run in third quarter to finish off Mesilla Valley.
Shiprock will play Ignacio, Colo. today for the tournament title.
“I respect them,” Atcitty said of Ignacio. “They got a well-balanced team and have been playing hard up to this point.”