Kirtland Central slams Thoreau without starting point guard
BLOOMFIELD – When the Bloomfield boys basketball team played Shiprock on Dec. 5, the Bobcats won by only 2 points and needed a defensive stop on the last possession to do so.
Saturday's tilt between the two teams wasn't nearly as close.
Bloomfield outplayed the Chieftains (7-8, 1-1 District 1-4A) in every facet of the game Saturday and successfully defended its home court by winning 64-37 at Bobcat Gym.
The rivals traded baskets for the first six minutes of the game until Malachi Pablo made a series of big plays on both ends of the court to give Bloomfield (11-6, 2-0) an edge.
Pablo hit a pair of 3-pointers, blocked a shot and drew a charge, all in a 90-second sequence, to help the Bobcats enter the second quarter with a 6-point advantage.
Bloomfield coach Devon Manning said the energy provided by Pablo, Brendon Charley and a few others was instrumental in picking up the lopsided win.
"That's what we try to preach to them is the hustle plays," he said. "It's the tiny things that win big games. We just wanted it more."
Shiprock struggled mightily on the offensive end of the court, especially in the second quarter. Andre Joe scored the Chieftains' only field goal of the quarter, and it didn't come until six minutes in.
Chieftains coach Chester Atcitty said he thought his team attempted way too many outside shots on Saturday.
"We just mentally broke down and didn't do what we're supposed to do, which is attack," he said. "Sometimes in the course of a game, we decide 3s are a lot better, and we settle for those."
Bloomfield came out hot in the third quarter to pull away from the Chieftains. Junior guard Ty Padilla hit a pair of 3-pointers on his way to 8 third-quarter points, and the Bobcats stretched a 13-point halftime lead to 21 points by the start of the fourth.
Manning's Bobcat teams have done battle with Shiprock many times over the past few years, so the coach felt like he had a pretty good game plan going into Saturday's district battle.
"We've played Shiprock at least 15 times over the last four years, so we kind of have a feel for everything they're gonna throw at us," he said. "The players executed what we set out to do."
Padilla led a balanced Bloomfield scoring attack with 15 points, and Pablo had 14. Joe led Shiprock with 13 points. No other Chieftain scored more than 6.
Bloomfield will go for five straight victories when it visits Thoreau (4-13, 0-2) on Thursday night.
The Chieftains haven't played a home game since the 43-41 loss to Bloomfield on Dec. 5. They'll head to Tohatchi on Monday before visiting Farmington on Tuesday in back-to-back nondistrict contests.
Kirtland Central 69, Thoreau 32
The Broncos took care of business Saturday, using a solid defensive effort to pick up a 69-32 win at Bronco Arena.
After trumping Zuni on Thursday, Kirtland Central (6-12, 2-0) is off to a nice start in its first run through the district schedule.
KC coach Brian Dowdy said his team played a pretty good all-around game to get past the Hawks.
"I think (Thoreau) had about 14 points at the half, and then we didn't give up too much after the half, obviously," Dowdy said. "We played with a pretty good pace and rebounded well, too."
Starting point guard Ty Yellowman missed the game after suffering a deep thigh bruise during the Zuni win, but his teammates picked up the slack in his absence.
Bryson Dowdy notched a team-high 13 points, and Riley Hamblin was right behind him with 12.
"I'm pretty happy to get so much offense and so much ball movement without Ty out there," coach Dowdy said. "We had a lot of guys step up, and his backup Jariah (Setzer) has played really good."
KC will take a breather before playing at Wingate (8-8, 0-1) on Thursday night.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.