BLOOMFIELD – Bloomfield is showing its might against some of New Mexico girls basketball’s elite.

Taking down the likes of Piedra Vista, Los Lunas, West Las Vegas and Shiprock so far this season, the Lady Bobcats are becoming battle-tested in time for a potential late-season surge.

“Those are huge wins for us. Now we’re slowly earning respect (from) teams that we never would’ve gotten in the past. It drives us. It’s a big deal for our program,” sophomore shooting guard Halle Payne said. “We’ve been moving the ball more and being more patient. We don’t rush like we did at the beginning of the season.”

Bloomfield (13-3) now has at least seven or eight players helping the cause of scoring in transition and in getting key stops when falling back the other way.

“We want to run. Transition has been a key part to our success,” coach Tom Adair said. “Our transition defense is so much better than what it’s ever been. You’ve got to get back and you’ve got to find the ball.”

The Bobcats have placed a stronger emphasis on cleaner ball movement on the fast break.

When BHS has an excellent night moving the ball in transition, it’s one of the top teams in 5A. That’s certainly helped the Bobcats in beating West Las Vegas and Los Lunas on their way to the Hope Christian Invitational title.

Bloomfield’s now won two regular-season tournament titles (Jerry Richardson Memorial tournament in Shiprock, Hope Christian Invitation) and also took second at the Village of Los Lunas Holiday tournament at Valencia.

Bloomfield’s only three losses came against teams it’s beaten, PV (17-1) and Los Lunas (15-2).

“When that time comes (at state), we’re going to be ready,” senior forward Alyssa Quintana said. “When we play teams like Los Lunas and still come out with a W, (the state’s) going to look at us differently. We’re going to fight.”

Bloomfield, which will host Miyamura in Thursday’s District 1-5A opener, isn’t one to just roll over against the state’s best. The Bobcats demonstrated first-hand they’re as tough as anyone.

“I just want them to keep that hunger of wanting to get better. We don’t want to stub our toe along there,” Adair said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.