It was the third meeting between the two teams in the last month. After Aztec took the first game 96-90 and Bloomfield the second 102-93, fans may have expected a higher scoring game than Tuesday’s 54-52 result in favor of Aztec.
Aztec (8-10) took a 15-4 lead after the first quarter, but the Bobcats (6-14) never quit fighting, narrowing the deficit late in the fourth quarter.
“We got out to a lead early, but credit Bloomfield for fighting back and making it a good game,” said Aztec head coach Jody Christman.
Bloomfield cut the Aztec lead to just 26-21 at halftime as poor free-throw shooting plagued Aztec.
The Tigers went just 3-for-14 from the line Tuesday night.
“We have to convert those points,” Christman said. “We also got into foul trouble and needed some guys to step up who didn’t do as much of that as we hoped.”
Conner Gaskins and Kyle Dodd each scored 16 points in the win for Aztec.
Bloomfield was led by Cesar Serna’s 13 points. Tyler Barker added 12.
Michael Crockett, one of Bloomfield’s leading scorers this season, went down in the fourth quarter with a knee injury in what could be a big blow to the Bobcats.
“He can barely move it. He is limping around like crazy,” said Bloomfield head coach Devon Manning. “It will be a real day-to-day thing, and I really don’t know if he can go Saturday against Wingate.
Bloomfield went into the fourth quarter down 37-27. After losing Crockett, Manning said the team could have folded. Instead, the Bobcats fought to the final buzzer.
“The one thing I have preached all year is you don’t stop playing until the final buzzer. The guys have really taken that to heart,” Manning said. “We had chances to take leads in the end. The guys saw one of our better players go down and could have folded, but they stepped up and played hard the whole game.”
Tuesday night’s final score reflected what Manning called a more “normal score” than the previous two matchups.
“Aztec didn’t press as much and sat back in a trapping zone a lot. We expected that after seeing their scores have gone down in games lately,” Manning said. “
Both teams begin district games later this week with Aztec visiting Piedra Vista on Saturday and the Bobcats hosting Wingate.
Shiprock 40, Page, Ariz., 32
The No. 4 ranked Lady Chieftains picked up win No. 14 Tuesday night.
Page, Ariz., visited the Chieftain Pit where Shiprock led from start to finish on the way to a 40-32 win.
“We were up by 15 most of the way, which was great because all the players were able to contribute to the win,” said Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson.
Courtney Steele and Taylor Henderson each had nine points in the win.
Shiprock (14-2) will visit Monument Valley, Ariz., Thursday before beginning District 1-3A play at home Friday against Thoreau.
After hosting Thoreau, Shiprock goes back on the road to Tuba City, Ariz., for an 11 a.m. game.
“We are so ready to go. It is going to be a great challenge mentally and physically, but we are looking forward to seeing the results,” Henderson said. “We are playing very consistent right now, and I know I have 12 girls who can go get it done.”