Bloomfield and Gallup open district schedule with important wins

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — As the district season unfolds for several area and local high school basketball teams, the importance of each game becomes greater with district titles and potential state tournament bids on the line.

Bloomfield and Gallup High School's boys basketball teams opened their District 1-4A campaigns with important wins on Thursday night, as both teams try and gain a foothold on the standings.

Meantime, Newcomb has been on a tear of late, winning for the third straight time within District 1-3A and assuming a commanding edge in the early race for the district title.

Here's a recap of some of the top boys basketball action from around the county.

BLOOMFIELD 68, Shiprock 39

Senior Aaron Watchman led the Bloomfield High School boys basketball team to an important road win, pulling clear of Shiprock in the second half to a 68-39 victory at the Chieftain Pit in the District 1-4A season opener for both teams.

Bloomfield's Jeremiah Sandoval looks to pass the ball against Aztec's Dard Campos during a basketball game at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.

Watchman scored 15 points for the Bobcats, who used their size advantage and strong passing game to get balanced scoring throughout the night, leading 32-20 at the end of the first half.

Seniors Jeremiah Sandoval and Ryan Thompson each scored nine points in the win, while sophomore Sam Slivers and junior David Nielsen scored eight points apiece. Bloomfield outscored the Chieftains 36-19 in the second half to secure the win.

"We had nice balanced scoring," said Bloomfield head basketball coach Randy Crockett. 

The win improves Bloomfield's record this season to 8-9 (1-0 District 1-4A) as they prepare for a trip to Aztec where they will face the Tigers on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Shiprock falls to 4-12 (0-1 district) and has now lost seven straight.

GALLUP 84, Kirtland Central 55

The Gallup High School boys basketball team had a big night at home on Thursday, earning a District 1-4A season-opening win with a convincing 84-55 home victory over Kirtland Central.

Junior Isaiah Tom did the majority of his damage from beyond the 3-point line in the win, hitting multiple treys as Gallup opened up on the Broncos in the second half, outscoring Kirtland Central 46-29 on their way to ending a three-game losing streak.

Kirtland Central fell behind early and failed to take advantage of multiple attempts from the free throw line during the first half when both teams got into foul trouble.

"We went 2-for-8 from the line and put ourselves behind," said Broncos head coach Brian Dowdy. "The boys got overwhelmed in the second half and we never matched their energy from that point forward."

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Gallup (5-9 overall, 1-0 District 1-4A) will look to continue their win streak when they visit Miyamura on Saturday at 7 p.m., while Kirtland Central (8-8, 0-1) has lost two in a row and will look to bounce back when they host Shiprock on Saturday at 7 p.m.

MIYAMURA 55, Aztec 44

The Miyamura High School boys basketball team got their district season started the right way on Thursday night, beating Aztec 55-44 at home.

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The Patriots have won two of their last three games and improve to 6-10 overall and 1-0 in District 1-4A play this season. Miyamura will look to extend their positive momentum this weekend when they face crosstown rival Gallup Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Tigers, (4-13 overall, 0-1 district) have lost three in a row and will have a chance to end that losing streak on Saturday at home against Bloomfield.

NEWCOMB 54, Tohatchi 50

The Newcomb High School boys basketball team staved off a tough challenge Thursday night, edging out Tohatchi 54-50 at Newcomb High School.

The Skyhawks, winners of six straight games and off to a fast 3-0 start to their District 1-3A campaign, fought back from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and rallied for the win.

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Newcomb outscored Tohatchi 20-8 in the final period, securing the win and handing the Cougars their second straight defeat.

Newcomb improves to 11-6 overall and will next face off with Crownpoint on the road on Saturday at 2 p.m. while Tohatchi falls to 6-9 (0-2 district) and will visit Wingate on Saturday at 1 p.m.

ZUNI 40, Crownpoint 38

The Zuni High School boys basketball team earned their first district win of the season Thursday night, edging Crownpoint 40-38 at home.

The Thunderbirds have won two of their last three games and improve their record on the season to 5-5 overall (1-0 District 1-3A). Zuni will look to extend their winning momentum when they host Thoreau on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Crownpoint's Quincy Benally looks to receive a pass while fending off Zuni defender Kole Eriacho during a basketball game Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 at Zuni High School.

Crownpoint, which won their opening game in district play last week beating Tohatchi 47-37, fall to 9-6 overall (1-1 district) and will be in action on Saturday at 2 p.m. at home against Newcomb.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.