KC clips Farmington, finishes first in tourney

Bloomfield takes second in Lady Bronco Tournament after a pair of easy Saturday wins

Jake Newby

KIRTLAND – The Lady Bronco Tournament went extremely well for the host Kirtland Central girls basketball team this weekend.

KC knocked off Farmington 50-44 on Saturday morning at Bronco Arena to finish with a 3-0 tournament record. The Lady Broncos (8-3) have now won six straight games.

The hosts took first in the tournament ahead of second-place Bloomfield and Grand Junction, Colo., which took third.

Saturday's win for KC didn't come without a fight, though, as FHS rebounded from an uninspired, 2-point effort in the first quarter to keep it close the rest of the game.

The Lady Scorpions (5-6) hit nine of their 12 free throws in the second quarter, when they outscored the hosts 13-9 to make it a 2-point game by halftime.

Brighton Clah's 6 quick third-quarter points gave Farmington its first lead of the day, but it wouldn't last long. KC went on a 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter, jump-started by a Talia Ockerman 3-pointer. Farmington never got the lead back or even managed to tie it after that run.

Kirtland Central senior Krystal Sheka is fouled at the basket on Saturday in a game against Farmington at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

Lady Broncos coach John Zecca said he thought his offense did a good job against Farmington's 3-2 zone after struggling against it initially.

"We just started being a little more aggressive," he said. "There's a couple different ways you can play against that 3-2 zone and since we don't have the big girls in the middle, we started attacking more with our dribble."

Because of school cancellation due to snow on Friday, FHS didn't make it to Kirtland for day one of the tournament and had an unexpected day off. Coach Danny Secrest said he thought his team looked a little rusty as a result.

"We hadn't been on the court in a while, and we just weren't in much of a rhythm," he said. "I also think we kind of relaxed a bit when we took the lead. We just couldn't finish."

KC's Haile Gleason had a game-high 21 points. Meeya Yazzie scored 12 for the Lady Scorps. Both girls, along with KC's Shamika Benally, were named to the all-tournament team.

Farmington senior Meeya Yazzie attempts a shot on Saturday against Kirtland Central at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

The same two teams meet again at Bronco Arena on Tuesday night.

Bloomfield 56, Navajo Prep 29 

Lady Bobcats coach Tom Adair said his team needed to play much better than it did in Friday's loss to Kirtland Central, and his girls didn't let him down on Saturday.

Bloomfield (8-3) won two games easily on the last day of the Lady Bronco Tournament, starting with a 56-29 thrashing of Navajo Prep.

The Lady Eagles (4-8) had 46 turnovers, which led directly to the Lady Bobcats' 57 percent field goal percentage in the game. They turned sloppy turnovers into easy layups all game long.

Destiny Walther shook off a foul-plagued 4-point output on Friday to drop a game-high 17 points on Prep.

"She played maybe a total of a minute and 30 seconds in the first half last night, and that hurts us," Adair said of Walther. "She's our scorer, so we gotta have her."

Harlei Haceesa scored a team-high 12 points for Prep. Haceesa and Walther were both named to the all-tournament team.

Bloomfield 49, Grand Junction, Colo., 22

A little more than two hours after Bloomfield's game with Navajo Prep went final, Adair's team was back on the floor to take on Grand Junction, which it defeated 49-22.

The energy level didn't slack off for the Lady Bobcats, who never trailed in the game.

Grand Junction (5-7) couldn't get anything going on offense, and Bloomfield took a 24-10 lead into the half.

Adair said he thought his defense was on point the entire game.

"Our rotation was good, and our hustle and effort (were) good," he said. "Our kids seem to really buy into our press. I don't even think I ran any man (defense). I usually do, but they were just so good in our matchup-zone."

Bloomfield hosts Dulce (1-9) on Tuesday.

Farmington 57, Navajo Prep 39

Both the Lady Scorpions and Lady Eagles looked better than they did in their respective first games on Saturday. Farmington just looked much better than its opponent.

The Lady Scorps were loose, and their defense was disciplined as they trounced Navajo Prep 57-39 in the final game of the Lady Bronco Tournament.

Ahead 39-16 at halftime, FHS kept its foot on the gas and finished the game strong, never letting Prep get within 10 points in the last two quarters.

"I think we were a little more relaxed than we were earlier," Secrest said.

Yazzie paced Farmington with 11 points, 9 of which came in the first quarter. Haceesa and Jazmin Benally both scored 11 for the Lady Eagles, who turned the ball over 32 fewer times than they did against Bloomfield.

"We faced three great teams here in this tournament, and the girls definitely got better in this one," Prep coach Rainy Crisp said. "I'm proud of how we finished this game. The girls stopped looking up at the score and just played."

The Lady Eagles host Bayfield, Colo., (2-3) on Tuesday.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.