KIRTLAND — The non-district schedule was a struggle for Kirtland Central, but the defending 4A state champion Lady Broncos have found their groove to start the district season.
Kirtland Central defeated Farmington 60-43 in their District 1-4A opener Friday night in Kirtland.
“We’ll take the win,” said Lady Broncos’ head coach Kevin Holman. “I thought we shot the ball well against their zone. It’s a good way to start off the district.”
After opening the game with an 8-0 run, the Lady Broncos (6-14, 1-0 District 1-4A) never surrendered the lead at any point.
FHS closed the Lady Broncos’ lead to 18-16 halfway through the second quarter, but Kirtland closed the second quarter on a 6-0 run in the final minute to take a 28-19 lead into halftime.
“I thought we really had a chance there with around a minute left, but instead of going into halftime down two or tied, we go in down by nine,” said FHS head coach Mike Switch. “They did really good job on the defensive side.”
The Lady Scorps (3-15, 0-1) never gained any momentum in the second half as the Lady Broncos controlled the second half and cruised to victory.
Kirtland’s full court press gave FHS problems throughout the game, forcing 31 Lady Scorpion turnovers.
“I scouted them a few times and saw they were young and struggled a little bit with the press,” Holman said. “The girls did a good job of executing and getting some steals. We worked on it and told the girls we were going to use it, and they did a nice job.”
Taylor Billey scored 17 points to lead the Lady Broncos.
Keeshawna Ockerman and Latricia Pinto each added 15 points for Kirtland with all of Pinto’s scoring coming from 3-point range as the Lady Bronco senior hit 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.
The Lady Broncos confidence on offense has grown throughout the season as the players have grown more accustomed to each other.
“We are growing more confident and tonight’s win really helped us,” Billey said. “We just trust each other.”
FHS freshman Shayna Carlowe was the only Lady Scorp to score in double figures, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting.
“She’s just a freshman, and she’s still learning the game,” Switch said of Carlowe. “But she’s one of the blue-collar workers who gives it everything she’s got.”
The Lady Scorps will continue their district schedule on Tuesday with a home matchup against Aztec.
Kirtland plays Navajo Prep today before resuming the district season with a home game on Tuesday against Piedra Vista.
“We’re going to have to win this district for a chance to repeat,” Holman said. “We’ll practice hard every day. We’re going to try to get that one against Prep, but PV’s the really big one.”