Kirtland Central, Shiprock kick off district play with wins

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FARMINGTON – Three players accounted for nearly all of the Bloomfield boys basketball team's offense on Thursday as the Bobcats went on the road to knock off Wingate 79-70.

Bloomfield (10-6, 1-0 District 1-4A) got a combined 68 points out of Brendon Charley, Malachi Pablo and Christian Chavez. Bobcats coach Devon Manning said he'll take that kind of outburst out of his three returning starters from last season any time he can get it.

"It doesn't have to always be 20 points each, but if we can get production like that from those three, we'll be in good shape on most nights," Manning said. "Overall, everyone played well. It was a team effort."

The Bobcats had to dig themselves out of an early 7-0 hole but did so on the backs of their three top scorers. Midway through the second half, Bloomfield found itself ahead by 20 points. Wingate (8-8, 0-1) got hot from behind the 3-point arc in garbage time to close the gap.

Despite handling the Bears in a hostile environment, Manning expressed concern over his defense, which allowed 27 points off of turnovers on Thursday. Heading into Saturday's district home opener against Shiprock, he said that's an area that must be cleaned up.

"We kind of have a feel of what Shiprock likes to do, both offensively and defensively," he said. "But if we turn it over like we did tonight, we're not going to win. We have to take care of ourselves first."

Kirtland Central 78, Zuni 66

The Broncos went on the road and fought off a scrappy Zuni team to earn a 78-66 district-opening victory on Thursday.

Kirtland Central (5-12, 1-0) got off to a 19-9 start, which it needed every bit of to stave off a hot-shooting Zuni (7-9, 0-1) squad in the second quarter.

"You give them an inch, they take a mile," KC coach Brian Dowdy said of Zuni's shooters. "I tip my hat to them, they made a lot of open shots."

Behind solid man-to-man defense, KC went on a nice third-quarter run to create some distance. Zuni didn't quit, but the Broncos maintained a comfortable 8- to 16-point lead the rest of the way.

Noah Lee played a major role in keeping the Thunderbirds at bay with his game-high 20 points. Jimmy Nez added 11, and Riley Hamblin had 10.

The win snaps a three-game losing skid for Kirtland Central, which squares off with Thoreau at home on Saturday

Shiprock 72, Thoreau 54

A big first half put the Chieftains in the driver's seat on Thursday, and they never slowed down, trumping Thoreau 72-54 on the road to open district play.

Good ball movement allowed Shiprock (7-7, 1-0) to win the first quarter by a score of 17-7. Chieftains coach Chester Atcitty said that big first quarter paved the way for an even better second frame.

"Once we got that little jump, we were kind of motivated to have an even better second quarter," he said. "We just spread the floor and moved the ball around."

Shiprock took a 40-25 lead over the Hawks (4-12, 0-1) into halftime and never looked back.

Atcitty said the win was a nice way to start district play, but his defense is still not where he wants it to be.

"We should have probably held (Thoreau) to a lower score than we did," he said. "We're still working on our defense. But a win is a win."

Arjay Miller got hot from 3-point land for the Chieftains, hitting five triples for a team-high 15 points. Andre Joe added 14.

Navajo Prep 63, Navajo Pine 55

Navajo Prep picked up its third win in as many days Thursday night, holding off Navajo Pine 63-55 in Navajo.

“It was good to get three wins, especially with some tough travel, and we’re glad to get out of it 3-0,” Prep head coach Rick Hoerner said.

While the game was closer than he would have liked, Hoerner said the Eagles played well, but had to battle through foul trouble and injuries throughout the game.

Leading scorer Nachae Nez went down in the first quarter with a knee injury and missed the second quarter because of it. Hoerner said Nez played the second half, but said the senior was in pain while on the court.

Three players finished in double figures for the Eagles. Isaiah Chavez led the way with 16 points, Nez finished with 15 and Tyler Pete added 10.

Prep will be off until Thursday, when the Eagles play at Crownpoint (1-12).

Girls basketball

Tohatchi 67, Navajo Prep 47

After picking up a 66-65 overtime win at Ramah on Tuesday, the Navajo Prep girls basketball team came up short against district foe Tohatchi (16-3, 1-0 District 1-3A), falling to the Lady Cougars 67-47 Thursday night in Tohatchi.

Prep head coach Rainy Crisp could not be reached for comment.

Prep (5-12, 0-1) will play at Newcomb (5-12) on Tuesday.

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.

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