Junior Brendon Charley has been vital to Bloomfield's success this season

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BLOOMFIELD — In Bloomfield's 75-54 win over Santa Fe Indian School on Saturday during the opening round of the 4A state playoffs, Brendon Charley led the Bobcats with a quiet 22 points.

That kind of subtle production is something he's made a habit of this season.

While his style of play doesn't always translate to the box score, Charley's contributions to Bloomfield's 20-7 record this year have been enormous. The junior has no problem fighting for offensive rebounds, initiating contact to get to the foul line and diving for loose balls. In other words, he does the dirty work.

But on Saturday, he proved he also has the tools to take over a game offensively.

"In that first half, he took advantage of the opportunities," Bobcats coach Devon Manning said of Charley's effort against Santa Fe Indian. "He was the recipient of good execution. He finished plays."

The 11th-seeded Braves played with pace and were active defensively. They forced No. 6 Bloomfield to play frenetically, which led to a lot of turnovers.

Charley said his teammates did a better job of breaking Santa Fe Indian's full-court press in the second half, and he benefited from that.

"We knew that once we got the rebound, they were gonna try and come down on us and trap us, so we had to start pushing it," he said. "I just tried to take what their defense gave me and tried to pick my spots down low."

Charley was steady all the way through on Saturday, with 12 points in the first half and 10 more in the second.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Charley is one of the best athletes in San Juan County. He's Bloomfield's starting quarterback and is one of the top starting pitchers on the Bobcats' baseball team. But it's taken Charley a couple of years to bottle his raw athletic ability and refine himself on the basketball court.

One part of Charley's game that has really developed in the past year is his jump shot. He admitted he was timid as an underclassman about shooting in games, but now he takes 12- to 14-foot jumpers with regularity.

"I think he has more confidence; he's always been a pretty good shooter," Manning said. "I remember last year in the district tournament against Thoreau, he took a big 15-foot jumper and banked it off the glass. He's not afraid to take the big shot."

The so-called dirty work suits Charley well, partly because of his size and athleticism and partly because Bloomfield is already loaded with so many natural scorers. Christian Chavez, Malachi Pablo and Adriano Stevenson all have multiple 20-point scoring performances under their belts, dating back to last season. So Charley knows he doesn't have to do too much.

"Those guys are great scorers and great basketball players overall," Charley said. "So I think with me coming in, I just get the offensive rebounds, play as tough as I can, and when my shot presents itself, just try and knock it down."

Charley and the Bobcats will be in Albuquerque this week for a 4A quarterfinal match-up with three-seeded West Las Vegas. Manning said if the game flow calls for it, he can see Charley putting up big offensive numbers again. But he doesn't have to.

"He doesn't have to go out and get 20 for us Wednesday, but if he can get 10 to 14 points, I think we have a good shot," Manning said. "He just has to play the way he has been. I'm not gonna ask any more of him."

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

A closer look: Brendon Charley

1. Favorite team?

"Pittsburgh Steelers."

2. Favorite athlete?

"Antonio Brown."

3. Favorite food?

"Texas Taco."

4. Favorite movie?

"Friday Night Lights."

5. Favorite subject in school?

"English."

6. Least favorite subject?

"Math."

7. Biggest fear?

"Losing."

8. Do you play any other sports?

"Football and baseball."

9. What is the first thing you would do with $1 million?

"Donate some of it, and save the rest."

10. Do you have any pregame rituals?

"Not really. I just try to relax and get focused."

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