Chavez, Charley help the Bobcats stay unbeaten
SHIPROCK – In a game that could have gone either way, the Bloomfield boys basketball team made a play or two more than Shiprock down the stretch on Saturday to escape the Chieftain Pit with a 43-41 win and improve to 4-0.
The Bobcats won the Shiprock Chieftains Tournament title, thanks in large part to their success in the paint after halftime.
Size played a major role in the outcome of the game, which was tied at 33 after three quarters.
Center Christian Chavez was one of those Bobcats who lived in the paint with nine second-half points, while power forward Brendon Charley made two put-back buckets in the game’s final three minutes to create a bit of separation on the scoreboard for Bloomfield.
Shiprock (2-2) kept the game close, thanks to a three-pointer apiece from Elijiah Harry and Landon Henderson late in the game. But Shiprock made a few too many miscues, like turning the ball over and failing to box Charley out.
“It was a nail-biter all the way down — anything could have happened,” Chieftains coach Chester Atcitty said. “They pressured us all the way down, and we pressured them all the way down. It comes down to the little things like the little layups and short jumpers that we missed.”
Bloomfield had possession and a two-point lead with 22 seconds to go and was able to maintain that possession until time ran out. Shiprock opted to play for the steal instead of fouling.
The Bobcats are still finding their footing offensively without Adriano Stevenson, their second-leading scorer from last season. They picked up only two field goals in the first quarter and had to overcome a night where Malachi Pablo shot 0-for-6 from the field in the fourth period.
“We knew they were going to go to that box-and-one (defense) on Malachi, and our guys kind of freaked out a little bit. We were turning the ball over on offense,” Bloomfield coach Devon Manning said. “But once they finally found that flow, we went on a couple runs, and then it was just about who was going to score on those last couple possessions. It was a grind.”
Chavez was named most valuable player of the tournament for scoring a game-high 17 points, but Manning said Ty Padilla was just as valuable to the team.
The junior guard hit a big 3-pointer in the first quarter to break Bloomfield out of an early-game slump, and he hit another one in the fourth quarter to break a tie.
“Ty stepped up. He’s been missing a lot of in-and-outs all year, and then he hits two big threes for us,” Manning said. “He kept after it.”
Harry was Shiprock’s leading scorer with 14 points. He scored 12 of those in the second half. The Chieftains will get 10 days of rest before playing Piedra Vista (2-1) on the road on Dec. 15.
Bloomfield will try to stay undefeated Tuesday night when it visits Navajo Prep (4-2).
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.