Shiprock staves off Aztec 47-44

Pablo's big second half bails out Bloomfield

Jake Newby

SHIPROCK – It was a tight game down the stretch, but the Shiprock boys basketball team did enough to keep Aztec at bay and pick up a win on Thursday at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

Shiprock's Keion Harvey goes around Aztec's Canyon Goimerac on Thursday
in the second half of a Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament game in Shiprock.

Though they trailed from start to finish, the Tigers (0-3) were able to make it a three-point game inside the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. But Shiprock (1-1) held firm, hit its free throws, and escaped with the 47-44 win on the first day of the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament.

"We controlled the ball a little bit better in the last few minutes than we did the rest of the game — that was the difference," Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty said. "We also knew we were rushing shots too much, so we had to put a stop to that. We wanted to push the pace, but we wanted to do it in a controlled manner at the end."

Ahead by only four at the half, Andre Joe hit a few baskets early in the fourth quarter to balloon Shiprock's lead to nine. But the Tigers kept fighting — particularly on the offensive glass — and scored a number of second-chance buckets to stay within striking distance.

"We have to work on our rebounding. We can't give teams second opportunities and, in tonight's case, third and fourth opportunities," Atcitty said. "That's something we have to keep working on."

A Preston Daughtry 3-pointer with 3:20 to go made it a 45-41 game.

The Tigers blocked a shot on the defensive possession after Daughtry's triple, but sped down court too fast for their own good and turned the ball over with less than two minutes to go.

Shiprock then successfully kept the ball away from Aztec — which didn't want to foul, trailing by three — to kill more than a minute off the game clock and effectively end the contest.  First-year Aztec coach Jeremy Archuleta eventually gave in and instructed his players to foul with about 15 seconds left, but they weren't able to do so until 10 seconds later.

Shiprock's Elijah Harry goes up for a layup against Aztec defenders during Thursday's game at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

"I have a really young team, and they're only three games into learning my system," Archuleta said. "I guarantee that by mid-season, we'll be a solid team. We're at a point where every single day is a learning process, but they're catching on."

Joe paced Shiprock with 14 points on the night. Lindsey Larabee had a team-high 15 for Aztec.

On the second day of the tourney, Shiprock will take on Newcomb, while Aztec will try to bounce back against Bloomfield.

Bloomfield 47, Durango, Colo., 39

A sloppy first half put Bloomfield in an early hole, but hard work on defense and Malachi Pablo’s hot hand guided the Bobcats to a 47-39 victory over Durango, Colo.

The Bobcats got off to a dreadful 3-of-10 start from the free throw line in the first half and turned the ball over 12 times, but still managed to stay within five points of the Demons in the first two quarters.

“If you make free throws, you make things a lot easier on yourself,” Bloomfield coach Devon Manning said. “And a lot of those turnovers in the first half came from our seniors.”

Pablo and Christian Chavez accounted for 10 of Bloomfield’s 12 first-half turnovers. Still, the Bobcats only trailed 18-17 at halftime.

Bloomfield’s defense made life difficult on Durango after the break, and Pablo was able to outscore the Demons 10-7 in the third quarter by himself.

Manning said the solid defensive effort was much needed.

“We want to put pressure on offenses. We don’t want to give up clean looks,” he said. “In the zone, you’re going to give up some shots. The thing you gotta do it put pressure on that shooter, and I think we did that really well for the most part.”

Pablo scored a game-high 25 points for Bloomfield, which plays Aztec today.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and Follow him @JakeNewby07 on Twitter.