Kirtland Central, Navajo Prep down their district opponents
SHIPROCK – The Bloomfield boys basketball team blew a pair of 8-point leads, but did enough in the extra periods to escape the Chieftain Pit with a 42-40 win over Shiprock in double overtime.
Still undefeated in District 1-4A, the Bobcats (16-6, 7-0) maintained their one-game lead over Kirtland Central with the victory. But a bevy of turnovers down the stretch forced Bloomfield to play six periods of basketball in order to earn that unblemished district record.
"We knew it was going to be tough. Shiprock came in with a great game plan," Bobcats coach Devon Manning said. "We had opportunities to pull away, and we made some mistakes. But give Shiprock credit, they caused some of those mistakes."
Brendon Charley's athleticism gave Bloomfield a lift throughout the night, especially in the second quarter, when the junior scored 6 points and grabbed four rebounds.
With his team down 8 in the second, senior Andre Joe stepped up when Shiprock (12-11, 4-3) was floundering. He netted 8 straight points in a three-minute span to send Shiprock into halftime down 4.
The second half saw five lead changes. Late in the third, the Bobcats got out to another 8-point lead behind their defense, which held Shiprock to only 7 points in the frame.
But the Chieftains again battled back deep into the fourth. The hosts had a 40-36 lead at the one-minute mark when Christian Chavez stepped to the line. The Bloomfield senior split the pair, but Brendan Ramsey was there on a second putback attempt to score a bucket and get a whistle.
Ramsey — who doesn't play a lot of minutes for Bloomfield — calmly buried the free throw to tie the game at 40.
"I don't think Ramsey's shot a free throw all year," Manning said. "That goes back to us shooting free throws every day at 7:45 in the morning. Now it's paying off."
Shiprock mismanaged the waning seconds of regulation and heaved up an air ball that missed, sending the game to overtime.
The Chieftains managed to make OT a one-possession period by swinging the ball around near halfcourt for the better part of four minutes. When it came time to try and win the game, they let the clock tick down to five seconds before finally making a move to the basket, where they again missed a long jump shot.
"It's just inexperience in the closing seconds. They should have executed around eight, nine seconds but just held on to it too long," Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty said. "Kids are looking up at the scoreboard to see the time when there's a clock on the backboard. Just inexperience."
Bloomfield's Ty Padilla scored a layup halfway into the second overtime, which marked the only points scored in the two OT's combined.
After trading turnovers, Bloomfield's defense got out in front of every Chieftain who touched the ball on the final possession and forced Landon Henderson to take a tough hanging jumper with one second left, which he missed.
The Bobcats are now 3-0 against Shiprock this season, and two of those games have been decided by 2 points. Atcitty said a win would have been nice, but he likes where his team is heading.
"We've made improvements since the last time we saw (Bloomfield)," he said. "It was a great experience. We want to finish out district strong and see where we fall at state, if that's in the cards."
Bloomfield will host Thoreau (5-18, 0-7) on Saturday, the same day Shiprock visits Zuni (8-13, 1-5).
Navajo Prep 45, Newcomb 31
District 1-3A is Navajo Prep's to lose.
By clipping Newcomb 45-31 Thursday at the Eagles Nest, Navajo Prep (18-6, 5-1) now controls its own destiny, needing only to win its last two games to take district.
With two starters nursing minor injuries, the Eagles had some chemistry issues with their starting five early on.
"We went down 11-4, and then we clamped down on defense," Prep coach Rick Hoerner said. "We only gave up 2 points in the second quarter and then slowly started to get it together."
Nachae Nez scored a team-high 16 points. Anthony Pioche-Lee provided a spark with 8 off the bench.
The Eagles need to beat Crownpoint (5-14, 2-2) at home on Tuesday and Rehoboth Christian (9-11, 2-3) on the road Thursday to claim the district title.
Kirtland Central 92, Thoreau 52
The Broncos notched their highest point total in coach Brian Dowdy's two-year tenure on Thursday, winning 92-52 over Thoreau on the road.
Kirtland Central (10-13, 6-1) put on an offensive show by pushing the pace and scoring in transition. Five Broncos scored in double figures, including Noah Lee (17), Eric Foutz (16) and Jariah Setzer (15).
"The loss to Bloomfield a couple of weeks ago shook us up," Dowdy said. "We just didn't feel like we played the way we should, and we've had some real intense practices since then. It's looked like we've rededicated ourselves."
Only 6 of KC's 92 points came via the 3-ball.
Like all teams in District 1-4A, the Broncos have three games left on the regular season schedule. Their next one is a home game against Wingate on Saturday.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.