Kirtland Central’s Wilbert Smith (12) shoots a 3-pointer against Shiprock on Tuesday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.
Kirtland Central's Wilbert Smith (12) shoots a 3-pointer against Shiprock on Tuesday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

KIRTLAND — Kirtland Central controlled the game from start to finish in a blowout against Shiprock.

The Broncos scored the opening 11 points of the game on their way to a 71-49 victory against the Chieftains on Tuesday night at Bronco Arena.

"They had to deal with a little disciplinary issue and weren't able to start their regular guys," said KCHS head coach John Zecca. "We got some open looks and knocked them down."

Shiprock sat six players, including four starters, for the entire first quarter after the players were late to practice without communicating to the coaching staff.

"It was for the right reasons," Shiprock head coach Chester H. Atcitty Jr. said. "It's tough doing the right thing, and I'm sure I'll get chewed out for it."

KCHS took advantage of the inexperienced Chieftain lineup, jumping out to a 16-2 lead in the first quarter.

The Broncos (13-4) hit 5-of-8 from 3-point range in the opening quarter, including 3-of-5 from Junior Smith, who finished with a game-high 17 points for KCHS.

"Every time I'm open, I was just making sure I was following through," said Smith, who started in place of Bud Willie after Willie sat out with an ankle injury. "It's a great feeling to step up."

The Broncos struggled from long range in the second quarter, hitting just one 3-pointer in eight attempts, allowing the Chieftains (11-7) to keep the deficit to 13 points at halftime.

"We started shooting when we didn't need to," Zecca said. "We got after them a little bit at halftime, and they responded."

KCHS came out in the third quarter and outscored the Chieftains 23-14 to push the lead to 22 points heading into the final quarter.

Christian Mackey recorded a double-double for the Broncos with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Bernel Miller and Reese Foutz each added 12 points in the KCHS win.

Mackey has been impressed by his teammates' abilities to pick up their game in recent contests.

"It's perfect timing," Mackey said. "Other teams don't understand that we have other guys who can shoot."

Kirtland Central Reese Foutz (24) lines up a jump shot over Shiprock on Tuesday at the Bronco Arena in Kirtland.
Kirtland Central Reese Foutz (24) lines up a jump shot over Shiprock on Tuesday at the Bronco Arena in Kirtland. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

The Broncos hit nearly 50 percent from the field in the victory, making 25-of-51 field goal attempts, including 9-of-22 from 3-point range.

"It's tough to stop. That goal was like an ocean to them. They'd throw the ball up and hit water every time," Atcitty said. "They did an awesome job."

The KCHS defense held the Chieftains to 14-of-49 shooting and just 5-of-21 from 3-point range.

Justin Begay led Shiprock with 12 points, and Hiram Gleason scored 10 in the loss.

Kirtland will face Bloomfield on Thursday, followed by a road trip to Albuquerque for a meeting with St. Pius X on Saturday.

"Last year, we went into Bloomfield and had the worst first quarter I've ever seen. We didn't score a point," Zecca said. "We have to play with a chip on our shoulder against everybody."

Shiprock will be off until Tuesday when the Chieftains play at Farmington High.

The Chieftains defeated FHS 58-39 in the first round of the Marv Sanders Invitational on Dec. 12.

"We just have to put this game behind us," Atcitty said. "They're looking for redemption against us."

Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or jperry@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.