Shiprock slams Socorro, Taos trips up Bloomfield
FARMINGTON – A dominant third quarter propelled the Kirtland Central girls basketball team to a 61-34 win over Navajo Prep on Thursday at the Eagles Nest in Farmington.
The visiting Lady Broncos led 31-26 at halftime. Prep (4-10) used its height advantage to win the first-half rebounding battle and shot nearly 50 percent from the field. But everything unraveled for the Lady Eagles in the third quarter as they were outscored 23-0.
KC came out of the locker room and played about as good a quarter as it's played all year, outworking the hosts on the glass and slashing to the rim with success.
Haile Gleason — the Lady Broncos' leading scorer on the season with more than 15 points per game — led the charge in the third quarter with 9 points. She scored 20 on the night.
The Lady Broncos (10-3) turned up their energy level in the third, according to coach John Zecca.
"We came out with a lot more intensity," he said. "I pointed out that we gave up way too many second-chance buckets in the first half. That's kind of been our weakness to this point. I give the girls credit, they came out and ironed that out. Before we knew it, we had a 25-point lead."
KC lived on the perimeter in the first half, sinking six of its eight 3-point attempts. Instead of hoping they would stay that hot from deep after the break, the Lady Broncos made a point of going to the basket — only 5 of KC's 23 third-quarter points came from outside of the paint.
Prep coach Rainy Crisp said her team didn't rebound well in the third.
"The lack of rebounds, especially offensive rebounds, really hurt us," she said. "We need to play more than two good quarters a night to win. But we're moving in the right direction."
Harlei Haceesa scored a team-high 8 points for the Lady Eagles, who visit Ramah on Tuesday. KC will go for its ninth straight win at Moriarty tonight.
Taos 55, Bloomfield 49
Bloomfield's neck-and-neck battle with Taos on Thursday mostly came down to free throws — Taos got to the line a lot, and the Lady Bobcats didn't.
The Lady Tigers hit 11 of 17 free throws in the fourth quarter alone, while Bloomfield went 4 for 4. The Lady Bobcats (9-4) couldn't overcome that free-throw discrepancy and fell 55-49 to Taos on the first day of the Hope Christian Tournament in Albuquerque.
In the second half, the Lady Bobcats did a good job of staying aggressive and penetrating the man-to-man defense of Taos (11-5). Destiny Walther and Kara Watchman scored 12 points apiece to pace Bloomfield.
Lady Bobcats coach Tom Adair credited Taos for taking care of business at the charity stripe, but thought Walther should have gotten to the line in the fourth. Kimberlyn Morgan attempted and made all four of Bloomfield's fourth-quarter free throws.
"Destiny was getting hammered inside and didn't get one call. But that's out of our control," Adair said. "We missed too many shots and easy layups, and you gotta give (Taos) credit for making their free throws."
The Lady Bobcats had a 3-point lead with two minutes left, but missed too many shots and had to start fouling when the clock became their enemy.
Taos boasted four girls with double-digit points.
Today, Bloomfield will turn its attention to Hot Springs (1-9) for a 9 a.m. game on the second day of the tourney.
Shiprock 64, Socorro 28
It was another lopsided victory for District 1-4A's first-place Lady Chieftains on Thursday, as they crushed Socorro 64-28 in Albuquerque.
Shiprock had its 12th consecutive win pretty much in the bag by the end of the first quarter after jumping to a 14-0 lead. The Lady Chieftains (12-1) advanced out of the opening round of the Hope Christian tournament and will play Los Lunas (9-5) at 3 p.m. today.
"We were being patient and executing well. Our girls had fun playing today," Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said. "We're still working on our defense and such, but the girls are doing a great job of getting out here and competing."
Tanisha Begay led the way with 18 points.
Henderson quickly zeroed in on what he thinks will be the key to beating Los Lunas.
"They have two veteran players who are outstanding and have done good things for their program," he said. "I think if we can contain those two, we'll be all right."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.