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FARMINGTON – The Shiprock boys basketball team overcame a slow start in the first quarter, then held off a late comeback to pick up a 66-59 win over Socorro in the first round of the Hope Christian Invitational on Thursday morning in Albuquerque.

The Chieftains (5-6) trailed Socorro (5-11) 15-10 after the first quarter, but picked things up in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 24-10 to take a 34-25 lead into halftime.

“I had a player (Arjay Miller) who came off the bench and went 3 for 3 from the 3-point line,” Shiprock head coach Chester Atcitty said. “That was probably the difference right there.”

Shiprock maintained its lead in the third quarter, taking a 46-36 lead into the fourth, when the Chieftains extended their lead to 59-43 with 2:42 remaining.The Warriors to cut the deficit to 5 points with 16 seconds left, but ran out of time to complete the comeback.

Shiprock’s Andre Joe led all scorers with 16 points. Miller finished with 15 after going five of seven from beyond the arc, and Landon Henderson added 11.

The Chieftains will face West Las Vegas (12-2) at 4:30 this afternoon.

“We better be ready,” Atcitty said. “We have to be ready for that pressure. They put a lot of pressure on you, and they read what your offense is doing really well.”

West Las Vegas 73, Bloomfield 39

Bloomfield (7-6) couldn’t hold up under the on-ball pressure West Las Vegas (12-2) put on the Bobcats, and the Dons coasted to a 73-39 win in the first round of the Hope Christian Invitational on Thursday in Albuquerque.

“We knew their best offense is their defense, and the game plan was not to feed them, but we did,” Bloomfield head coach Devon Manning said. “We gave them 18 points off of turnovers that were all uncontested layups. And they’re really good.”

The Bobcats fell behind 24-7 after the first quarter, and saw the deficit balloon to 51-18 at halftime.

Malachi Pablo led Bloomfield with 18 points.

The Bobcats have lost five of their last six and will face Socorro (5-11) in the tournament’s consolation bracket at 1:30 p.m. today.

Bloomfield and Socorro played on Dec. 17 with the Bobcats getting a 68-40 win, but Manning said the Warriors are much better now.

“They don’t look like the same team — they’re improved a lot,” Manning said of Socorro. “We’re in for a tough game.”

Grants 78, Kirtland Central 55

Kirtland Central ran into foul trouble in the third and fourth quarters, which allowed Grants pull away for a 78-55 win Thursday night in Grants.

The Broncos (4-12) started strong, jumping to an 11-3 lead in the first quarter before allowing Grants (13-3) to take a 31-30 halftime lead.

Late in the third quarter, Grants began to pull away, closing out the final 2:54 on a 7-0 run to take a 52-45 lead heading into the fourth, and continued to roll in the final quarter.

“We got into a little bit of foul trouble and a couple of guys got dinged up, and Grants got hot,” KC head coach Brian Dowdy said. “We had a bunch of turnovers. They pressed pretty much the whole game. We just didn’t handle the pressure in the fourth. But I’m really proud of the way the guys played.”

Bryson Dowdy scored 14 points in the first half, but picked up his fourth foul early in the third before finishing with 17 points.

KC will have a week to get ready for its District 1-4A opener, when the Broncos play at Zuni (7-5) on Thursday.

“We’re battle tested,” Dowdy said of KC’s tough schedule. “I want to see them come out and establish who they are. We’ll see if all this paid off, or if we just have a bunch of losses.”

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

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