KIRTLAND — Kirtland Central had an easy time opening its tournament with an overmatched Whitehorse, Utah, squad.
The Broncos (2-0) dominated from the opening tip, beating the Raiders 76-27 in the first round of the 2013 Webb Toyota Basin Tournament at Kirtland Central High School on Thursday.
"We tend to start a little slow with our shooting like we did tonight," KCHS head coach John Zecca. "We had a lot of wide open looks that we couldn't knock down, but we relaxed in the second quarter and started playing like we can."
Zecca thought his team's slow start was due to the Whitehorse zone defense, and he thought it was important for his team to get a little early-season experience against it.
"Last year, we didn't play as good against zones, so it's good to get some work against it," he said. "Overall, I was happy with it."
The Broncos opened a 16-3 lead after the first quarter and pushed their advantage to 27 points heading into halftime.
Christian Mackey used his size advantage in the paint to lead KCHS with a game-high 19 points.
Reese Foutz added in 17 points, and Eli Charles scored 10 in the win for Kirtland.
"Most teams are focused on me, and it was nice to have Reese in there helping out," Mackey said. "He's a good player. We're a great all-around team, and we'll be scoring from everywhere this year."
Kirtland will continue the tournament today with a game against Mesilla Valley, while Whitehorse will face Bloomfield.
"It'll be a tough game," Zecca said of Mesilla Valley. "They press a little bit, and we need to get better at that."
Mesilla Valley 67, Shiprock 65
A late comeback by the Chieftains fell short as they dropped their opening round game of the Basin Tournament.
"They're a second-half team, so I knew they'd play strong," said Shiprock head coach Chester H. Atcitty Jr. "Our job was to get a comfortable lead in the first half so we could survive it, and we didn't do that. They hung in and did an awesome job."
The SonBlazers used a strong third quarter in which they outscored Shiprock 21-11 to take a nine-point lead.
Shiprock (1-1) closed the game on a 10-3 run over the final five minutes of play and had a chance to tie in the final seconds after two missed free throws by Mesilla Valley's Jeff Alder, but a runner in the lane by Deron Johnson missed the mark.
"That's a very good win for us," said Blazers' head coach Jeremy Roman. "I was excited to get out and play a team that could put pressure on us. That's a great team, so it's exciting."
Justin Begay was the only Chieftain to reach double figures with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field in the loss.
Shiprock led 37-36 going into halftime before Mesilla Valley took control of the game in the third quarter.
Alder led the Blazers (2-0) with 22 points in the win while Nick Nunley added 15 and Tristan Franzoy chipped in 11.
"They did a good job going inside," Atcitty said. "It gave us some problems, and we didn't guard it like we should have. That's a good ball club."
Shiprock will continue the tournament today with Ignacio.
"I'm hoping to see more energy," Atcitty said. "We need to play with a little bit more enthusiasm, and we just didn't have it today."
Ignacio 62, Bloomfield 37
In the opening game of the tournament, Ignacio, Colo., emerged with a victory in the battle of the Bobcats.
"We were down four early in the second half and just folded," said Bloomfield head coach Devon Manning. "They took it up to a level that we weren't ready to play at."
Wyatt Hayes and Kelton Richmond led Igancio with 14 points, while Clayton Jefferson and Adison Jones each added 11 more.
IHS (1-0) opened the game on a 10-1 run in the first three minutes of the game, but Bloomfield battled to cut the deficit to 20-14 heading into halftime.
Bloomfield (0-1) again got off to a slow start in the second half, allowing a 15-3 in the opening three minutes.
"Against a team like Ignacio, you can't sit there and let them punch you in the mouth," Manning said. "You've got to take the game to them. Hopefully, this is a good learning experience."
This time, BHS was unable to mount a comeback as Ignacio cruised through the final quarter with a comfortable lead.
Bloomfield's best scoring chances came at the free throw line, hitting 18-of-32 to account for nearly half of its points.
Ray Sanchez led BHS with 19 points, including 9-of-14 from the free-throw line.
Manning said the offense needs more diversity going forward and can't simply rely on Sanchez driving to the basket if the team is going to have success in the future.
"We're going to be in trouble if that's our offense. I promise that's not what we put in," Manning said. "We've got a long season ahead and a lot of work to do."