Bloomfield staves off Kirtland Central 56-49
Shiprock trumps Wingate to lock up No. 3 seed in District 1-4A tournament
RIO RANCHO – The Bloomfield boys basketball team made a nice comeback before halftime, then had to hold one off in the fourth quarter on its way to a 54-49 win over Kirtland Central Saturday night at Bobcat Gym.
The visiting Broncos cut a late-game 10-point deficit down to just four, but Bloomfield (19-6, 10-0 District 1-4A) connected on 11 of its 13 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
The win locked up the No. 1 seed for Bloomfield in next week's district tournament. KC is second, with both teams receiving a bye.
"We scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, and 11 of those came from free throws," Bobcats coach Devon Manning said. "It was just a matter of getting the ball in safely and then knocking down free throws."
Kirtland Central (12-14, 8-2) held an 18-13 lead going into the second quarter and then extended it. The Broncos seemed poised to head into halftime ahead by double digits, but a sudden 7-0 Bloomfield run swung the momentum.
"I give credit to the guys. We were down by 13, and things could have gotten out of control real quick," Manning said. "But we kept our discipline."
The hosts went into halftime down by just 3.
KC's 6-0 run late in the fourth was highlighted by a deep Bernel Miller 3-pointer. But KC repeatedly fouled Bloomfield's Malachi Pablo, which is the opposite of what Broncos coach Brian Dowdy told the team to do.
"I told the guys to foul anyone but Pablo," Dowdy said. "Apparently, we had some hearing difficulties tonight."
Pablo paced the Bobcats with 22 points, a game high. The senior went a clutch 6 for 8 from the charity stripe in the fourth.
Bryson Dowdy had 13 points for KC, which has to get refocused in time for next week's district tourney.
"We addressed things right after the game, I said 'Don't pack it in now, it's not over,'" coach Dowdy said. "I told them they can let it hurt tonight and tomorrow, but it's time to get back to work Monday."
Shiprock 57, Wingate 46
Without top scorer Andre Joe, who is ailing with a left shoulder injury, Shiprock took care of business on Saturday by ousting Wingate 57-46 at the Chieftain Pit.
Slow starts have been a trend for the Chieftains (15-12, 7-4) all season, Saturday night included. But they overcame that and the loss of Joe to top the Bears (13-14, 4-7) and clinch the No. 3 seed in the District 1-4A tourney.
"We stayed disciplined on defense and applied pressure at the appropriate times," Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty said. "I'm thankful that, for whatever reason, it didn't look like (Wingate) played up to par."
Arvin Begay stepped up with a team-high 12 points for Shiprock. Elijiah Harry chimed in with 10.
A 16-9 second-quarter run went a long way in securing the win for the Chieftains.
"(Wingate) actually outscored us in the second half by 2," Atcitty said. "But the damage was done by halftime, I think."
Joe is questionable to play in the tournament next week. Neither a date nor an opponent has been scheduled yet for Shiprock.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.