Kirtland Central falls to Cleveland 64-53
FARMINGTON – The offense of the Kirtland Central boys basketball team is a major work in progress, but the effort was there for coach Brian Dowdy’s group in Saturday’s loss.
After falling to Cleveland by 43 points in last year’s Marv Sanders Invitational, KC gave the Storm a much tougher fight in this year’s invite, but still lost 64-53 at Scorpion Gym.
Kirtland Central (1-5) has struggled to hit shots since the season opened, and that didn’t change much against Cleveland (5-1).
The Broncos fell into an 18-5 first-quarter hole before tightening up on the defensive side of the ball for the duration of the contest.
“For not running much zone at all this year, I can’t even get mad at those kids for how they executed it,” Dowdy said. “We haven’t even gone through the principles or anything.”
The effort never lagged for KC, but Cleveland stood its ground and held a double-digit lead for the entire second half. The Storm also never trailed in the game.
Noah Lee was a bright spot with 15 points. The Broncos' senior center was named to the all-tournament team for his solid showing over the past three days.
The rest of the offense, though, struggled to get going. Of the 53 points KC scored, 22 of those came from the free throw line, which Dowdy said was part of the game plan.
“We were stressing getting to the paint more and getting to the rim,” he said. “Our shooting percentages are still dismal. Even (Friday) night, our field goal percentage was 39 percent in the win. So I told them, 'You can’t control your shots some nights, but you can control your effort, rebounding and defense.'”
Starting forward Bernel Miller sat out the game with a sore right rotator cuff. The left-handed shooter will be examined by doctors on Monday, according to Dowdy.
The Broncos will get some time off before battling Gallup (5-3) on the road on Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Bloomfield 56, Laguna Acoma 49
Bloomfield (4-1) knocked off Laguna Acoma (4-4) in the third-place game of the Lady Hawks’ home tournament 56-49 Saturday afternoon.
“The kids stepped up and played well,” Bloomfield head coach Tom Adair said. “They played well on defense, and we had some girls come off the bench and play well for us.”
The bulk of the Lady Bobcats' offense came from guard Brandi Alcantar and post Destiny Walther, who scored 18 and 16 points, respectively.
Adair said throughout the game, Alcantar beat her defender off the dribble to get into the lane for easy buckets or she would dump the ball off to Walther when her defender came to help.
Bloomfield will play at Piedra Vista (7-1) on Thursday.
Aztec 44, Silver 26
Aztec (5-2) handled its business in the fifth-place game at the Tournament of Champions, dispatching of Silver (1-6) 44-26 Saturday in Artesia.
“We played well. We got two wins down here and played solid,” Aztec head coach Robert McCaskill said.
McCaskill said the Lady Tigers executed their offense well and played better defensively than they had in the tourney’s two previous games.
Elana Kresl led the Lady Tigers with 18 points. McCaskill said Kresl’s shot was on during the game to help her nearly outscore Silver on her own.
While McCaskill was pleased with the overall performance, he said he wants to see his team continue to execute better on offense and have better focus on the defensive end of the court.
Aztec will play at Bernalillo (0-8) on Friday.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.