FARMINGTON — Kirtland Central had a tough time with defending 4A state champion Los Lunas and all-state forward Teige Zeller.
Zeller scored a game-high 36 points as the No. 2 Lady Tigers knocked off the No. 18 Lady Broncos 76-47 on Tuesday in Bronco Arena.
"They are a solid bunch," KCHS coach Rochelle Curry said of Los Lunas. "They went to (Zeller), and we couldn't really stop it. If I had a girl like that, I'd do the same thing."
KCHS (6-16) knew it'd be a tough task against the 6-foot-2-inch Zeller and the quick guards of Los Lunas (18-4).
"It's always good to play a good team and see where we compare," Curry said. "Our kids didn't back down and handled the press well. They played hard and continued to do what they could."
KCHS dug an early 18-6 hole in the first quarter but the team was able to play the Lady Tigers pretty evenly through the second quarter with a 35-21 deficit.
Los Lunas outscored KCHS 41-26 in the second half to pull away for the win.
The Lady Broncos had three players reach double figures in the loss.
Megan Silversmith led KCHS with 12 points. Deiondra Smith added 11, and Keeshawna Ockerman scored 10 for the Lady Broncos.
That offensive balance is something Curry hopes will continue in the second half of the District 1-4A season.
"The girls have to keep that momentum going," she said. "We knew this was the non-district, and it's nice to have a game right in the middle. It will raise our level of play."
KCHS will continue its season on Saturday when it hosts Farmington High. Then it will close out the district season with games at home against Piedra Vista on Feb. 20 and at Aztec on Feb. 22.Joshua Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.