Farmington — A tight game through three quarters quickly got out of hand in the fourth for Farmington High.
Kirtland Central scored the first 10 points of the final quarter to stretch a one-point lead to 11 as the Broncos emerged from Scorpion Gym with a 51-35 victory to open District 1-4A play on Friday night.
"We told them in between quarters to just play our game," KCHS head coach John Zecca said. "We are kind of starting to click at the right time."
FHS (10-11, 0-1 District 1-4A) entered the fourth trailing just 29-28 after erasing a seven-point halftime deficit, but the shorthanded Scorps, who were missing Kyle Reynolds with an ankle injury, ran out of gas in the final eight minutes.
"We battled back and showed a lot of heart and poise, but I thought the kids just got impatient," FHS head coach Paul Corley said. "We took some bad shots, and they got a couple of run outs because we didn't get back (on defense). We got a little bit tired and didn't have much of a bench when we lost Kyle. He brings a lot of leadership and court savvy."
The Broncos were able to knock in their free throws down stretch, making 12-of-14 in the final quarter to seal the victory.
The FHS defense double- and triple-teamed Broncos' star big man Christian Mackey throughout the game, limiting him to just seven points, but the rest of the Broncos picked up the scoring load.
Reese Foutz led KCHS (14-5, 1-0) with a game-high 19 points on 6-of-8 from the field, and Junior Smith chipped in 10 points, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range.
"They were focusing a lot on Christian and gave me a lot of open looks," said Foutz, who hit 2-of-3 from 3-point range. "After I hit that first one, it got my confidence up."
Mackey found other ways to contribute for KCHS, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking or altering numerous FHS field goal attempts in the paint.
The Broncos held FHS to just 14-of-46 from the field in the game.
"Everybody on our team can score, so I tried to step up in different areas," Mackey said. "This is a team game and when we play as a team, we can do great things."
The Scorps opened the game on an 8-0 run, holding the Broncos scoreless for the first 6:40 of the game, but KCHS responded with a 17-0 run of its own to take a 21-14 lead into halftime.
FHS used another 8-0 run late in the third quarter to briefly take a 28-27 lead before a Mackey put back gave KCHS a 29-28 advantage after three quarters. Kirtland led for the remainder of the contest.
"In that third quarter, we got a little out of control and took shots we didn't need to take," Zecca said.
Jared Tschetter hit three 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 11 points for the Scorps in the loss. Victor Lopez had 10 points for FHS before fouling out with two minutes left in the game.
District play continues Tuesday with KCHS hosting Aztec, and Farmington traveling to Piedra Vista.
Corley said it's important for his players to put the loss behind them with the rival Panthers looming next.
"We've got to get ready for PV. We can't get into an 0-2 hole in district play," he said.
Kirtland's focus will shift to the Tigers, who lost their district opener on Friday 61-55 to PV.
"I haven't had a chance to see Aztec much. I know they have some size and sometimes that height will bother us down low, but it will be good to be on our court," Zecca said.