Lady Broncos hold off Miyamura 58-51

Karl Schneider
Kirtland Central's Deiondra Smith attempts a shot over Miyamura's Lauryn Thomas (24) and Michelle Toadlena (22) on Tuesday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

KIRTLAND – The Kirtland Central girls basketball team knocked off Miyamura 58-51 Tuesday afternoon at Bronco Arena, but it wasn’t the strong all-around performance the Lady Broncos wanted to finish on heading into their holiday break.

“I don’t think we had the right mindset and intensity tonight, especially early on, missing a lot of free throws like we did,” KC head coach John Zecca said. “It was a win, but it was a sloppy win. And that’s not taking anything away from Miyamura. They’re a great team, and they played well, but I don’t think we were there mentally.”

The Lady Broncos started the game well, jumping out to a 16-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the first, KC created a few turnovers with its full-court press to keep Miyamura’s offense out of rhythm.

KC (4-3) kept the Lady Patriots (6-4) quiet in the second quarter, as well, but Miyamura’s Sarah Gilmore knocked down a 3-pointer as time expired and sent the game to halftime with the Lady Broncos leading 28-19.

Gilmore’s bucket at the end of the first half was enough to steal the momentum from KC.

Kirtland Central's Megan Silversmith attempts a layup during a game against Miyamura on Tuesday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

The Lady Patriots took control of the game in the third quarter. Hannah Murphy led Miyamura’s charge, catching fire from beyond the arc and making four 3-pointers in the quarter. Murphy converted six of the Lady Patriots 10 3-pointers during the game.

“We knew that she’s a great shooter,” Zecca said of Murphy. “We saw her at the Gallup tournament, and we told the girls that even if you think you’re up on her, if there’s just a little bit of room, she’s going to shoot it over you, and she’s going to make it.”

While Murphy got the Miyamura offense going, KC’s offense hit a wall in the third quarter.

Zecca said part of his team’s struggles in the third was the result of the Lady Patriots running a 3-2 zone defense as opposed to a 2-3 zone, which the Lady Broncos see more often. While KC knew Miyamura would run the 3-2 and the team talked about what to do against it, Zecca said the Lady Broncos had a tough time making the adjustments.

After a KC timeout to regroup, the Lady Patriots made two more 3-pointers to take a 36-35 lead in the final minute of the quarter.

But similar to Gilmore’s triple at the end of the second quarter that sparked the Lady Patriots, KC’s Haile Gleason buried a 3-pointer from the right corner at the buzzer to give KC a 38-36 lead and ignite the Lady Broncos.

“Haile really got us going and hit a lot of big shots, and made a lot of big plays for us in the fourth,” Zecca said. “I think she really sparked us and got us going.”

Through the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, the Lady Broncos outscored Miyamura 12-5 to take a 52-41 lead and held on to pick up the win.

Gleason finished with a game-high 23 points, scoring eight in the fourth quarter, while teammate Deiondra Smith added 11 for the Lady Broncos.

Murphy led the Lady Patriots with 20 points.

KC will be off until Jan. 2 when the Lady Broncos host Valencia (5-3).

“We need work on everything. Rebounding has been an issue for us, and we need to get better at that, but the biggest thing is putting four quarters together,” Zecca said. “We have a tendency of having lapses during the game where we don’t really execute for sometimes a quarter at a time. We need to work on keeping the intensity up for all four quarters.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.