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Chieftains zoom past Thoreau 83-47

Bloomfield, Kirtland Central snag easy wins

Jake Newby
jnewby@pnj.com

SHIPROCK – It's been a while since the Shiprock boys basketball team played in front of its home crowd, and when the Chieftains finally returned home on Saturday night, they didn't disappoint.

Shiprock's Antonio Cota beats the Thoreau defense for a layup in the first half on Saturday at the Chieftain Pit.

Shiprock used an uptempo style of play to keep Thoreau off balance all night, leading to an 83-47 blowout win for the hosts at the Chieftain Pit.

The win bumps Shiprock (11-10, 4-2 District 1-4A) back above the .500 mark. Saturday's home game was the first for the Chieftains since they took down Red Valley/Cove, Ariz., on Jan. 5.

"It took a little time and a little work, but I think we figured (Thoreau) out after that first quarter," Chieftains coach Chester Atcitty said.

An 8-0 Shiprock run early in the second quarter was fueled by a suffocating full-court press. That forced the Hawks (5-17, 0-6) to play Shiprock's game in the second quarter, hurrying the ball upcourt and turning it over repeatedly in the process.

Nine Chieftains registered a point in the 19-9 second period. Atcitty loves to go 12 or 13 deep with his rotation, and that shuffling served his team well on Saturday.

"The second group that came in got us going," he said. "The way I look at it is, anyone on this team can be a starter. That's one thing I try to get them to realize."

Shiprock's Steven Reed penetrates the paint for a jumper against Thoreau on Saturday at the Chieftain Pit.

Andre Joe led the way with 15 points for Shiprock, and Elijiah Harry chimed in with 14. All 13 Chieftains who entered the game scored at least 2 points.

Shiprock will try to keep rolling Monday when Tohatchi (7-15, 3-2) comes to town.

Bloomfield 63, Wingate 47

The Bobcats (15-6, 6-0) completed a season sweep of Wingate on Saturday by scoring a 63-47 win at Bobcat Gym.

Christian Chavez continued his scoring tear with 22 points, while fellow senior Malachi Pablo netted 14.

Bloomfield coach Devon Manning said his team got off to a hot start behind a strong defensive effort, which it needed, because Wingate (10-11, 2-5) made a charge after halftime.

"We had a 12- or 13-point lead at half, but the rest was just a battle, to be honest," Manning said. "(Wingate) kept it in that 10- to 12-point range. We just had to keep concentrating on their shooters."

The Bobcats are off until Thursday, when they make the trip to Shiprock to take on the Chieftains.

After beating Shiprock 64-37 on Jan. 23, Manning said he's expecting a different ballgame come Thursday.

"We know what's gonna happen — they're going to be at their best," he said. "We've got to be focused. We'll try to figure out what they want to do defensively against us, and go from there. We'll be ready."

Kirtland Central 86, Zuni 49

There was no lingering effect from Thursday's key home loss to Bloomfield for Kirtland Central, as the Broncos marched past Zuni 86-49 on the road on Saturday.

KC didn't worry about the score, nor the level of competition, and instead simply played its game, according to coach Brian Dowdy.

"Everything we did wrong against Bloomfield the other night, we did right tonight," Dowdy said. "We just wanted to come out and play hard, and they did that."

Pesky defense translated to easy baskets in transition for the Broncos (9-13, 5-1). By halftime, the visitors found themselves ahead of Zuni (8-13, 1-5) by a whopping 32 points.

Twelve players checked into the game for KC, and all of them put points on the scoreboard. Bryson Dowdy had a great night with 21 points.

The Broncos will take a breather before returning home to play Thoreau Thursday night.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.