Kirtland Central splits at Gallup Invitational

Jake Newby, and Karl Schneider
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON – The Kirtland Central boys basketball team completed two games in less than six hours on Friday at the Gallup Invitational.


KC came up just short in its 11 a.m. tilt with Sandia Prep (5-6), falling 72-70, but bounced back by clipping Tohatchi 77-66 in the afternoon.

In a game full of lead changes, the Broncos (4-9) made a very late surge to make the final score as close as it was.

Trailing by 8 with just under a minute to go, KC got to within 6, but couldn't execute on the game's final play with 3.9 seconds left.

"We ran an inbounds play designed to go to Bernel (Miller), and he wasn't quite open. He threw it to Riley (Hamblin), who shot a 17-footer that rattled in and out," Broncos coach Brian Dowdy said.

KC then came out flat against Tohatchi (4-10) and had to fight back from a 10-point halftime deficit.

Second-half defense generated plenty of Bronco offense.

"We had to go to a press and a trap, and we just went crazy on it trying to steal everything," Dowdy said. "Our halfcourt trap worked really well, and that's what turned the tables. We got a bunch of turnovers off that and climbed back in."

Noah Lee led the team in scoring against Sandia Prep with 12. Jimmy Nez and Ty Yellowman guided the second-half charge with 13 combined points in the final quarter.

Kirtland will close out in Gallup today against 6A Deming (8-6) at 2:30 p.m.

Navajo Prep 74, Red Valley-Cove, Ariz., 29

Navajo Prep will play for the title in the Bison bracket at the Striking Eagle Invitational after the Eagles crushed Arizona’s Red Valley-Cove 74-29 Friday in Albuquerque.

“We shot the ball really well, especially in the first half, and our defense was much, much better tonight after last night’s fiasco,” Prep head coach Rick Hoerner said.

Hoerner said the Eagles (9-4) put a lot of pressure on Red Valley-Cove (6-4) and created a lot of turnovers.

“I have to thank coach (Chester) Atcitty over at Shiprock. He told me that if we put pressure on them, they’ll struggle a little bit, and that’s what we did,” Hoerner said. “We put as much pressure on them as we could and jumped out to a quick lead.”

Nachae Nez led the Eagles with 19 points.

Prep will play Cuba (8-4) in the championship at 5:30 p.m. today.

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.