KC takes charge in 3rd quarter to beat Shiprock

Karl Schneider

SHIPROCK — The athleticism of the Kirtland Central boys basketball team was on full display tonight as the Broncos picked up a win over one of their biggest rivals, toppling Shiprock 70-58 at the Chieftain Pit.

Kirtland Central's Bryson Dowdy attempts a basket against Shiprock Dec. 6 at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

“This place is always nuts, no matter what the teams’ records are. You always have to expect some mistakes and mental lapses, but overall, I think we did pretty good,” KC coach Brian Dowdy said. “We got some guys in who needed some experience, and a couple of them played really well.”

KC junior Bryson Dowdy started the game on fire, scoring 20 of his game-high 28 points in the first half.

The Broncos rode Dowdy’s hot start to a 27-19 lead with less than three minutes left before halftime. But the Chieftains went on a 7-0 run over the next 1:14 to cut the deficit to 27-26.

Shiprock (1-4) would go on to tie the game at 29, but the Chieftains couldn’t find a way to take the lead and trailed 31-29 at halftime.

Shiprock's Landon Henderson dribbles the ball toward the basket while defended by Kirtland Central's Jariah Setzer, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

The Broncos (3-1) used a dominant third quarter to separate from the Chieftains, outscoring Shiprock 24-10 in the quarter to take a 55-39 lead into the fourth quarter.

In the quarter, KC used its full-court press and harassing on-ball pressure that forced Shiprock into making bad decisions that led to turnovers.

“I thought we played a good team strategy until we started to force it a little and went for the home run,” Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty said of the third-quarter troubles. “It cost us 6 or 8 points with their transition right off the bat.”

Trailing by double digits for most of the fourth quarter, Shiprock cut it to 63-55 with a little less than two minutes remaining. But the Chieftains gave up a couple of offensive rebounds that helped the Broncos eat up the clock and hold on for the win.

The victory wasn’t without a potentially major blow to the Broncos, though. In the first minute of the fourth quarter, senior captain Jimmy Nez went down with a left knee injury and needed to be helped off the court. After the game, Nez was using crutches and had the knee heavily wrapped in ice.

Kirtland Central's Jimmy Nez  drives to the basket defended by Shiprock's Aaron Gould (32) and Arvin Begay (30), Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

The extent of the injury was not known, and Nez will have it further evaluated.

Nez finished with 14 points.

Landon Henderson led Shiprock with 12 points.

KC and Shiprock will both be back in action on Thursday at the Marv Sanders Invitational hosted by Farmington.

KC will face San Juan High (1-0), out of Blanding, Utah, while the Chieftains will take on the host Farmington (2-1).

Navajo Prep 57, Newcomb 51

The Navajo Prep boys basketball team was a bit shorthanded after two key players went down with injuries last week, but the Eagles found a way to knock off Newcomb (3-4) 57-51 tonight in Newcomb.

Prep coach Rick Hoerner said the Eagles (4-2) led most of the game by double digits after several players stepped up to fill the void left by injuries.

“Tehrall Martinez got us off to a great start, and they handled the ball really well tonight," he said. "They were patient and took their time and did things right for the most part — especially our bench guys. They did a good job handling themselves.”

Tyler Pete led Prep with 19 points. Tyler Morgan added 11, and Tehrall Martinez finished with 10 points.

Prep will meet Northwest (0-2) in the first round of the Eagles’ home tournament on Thursday.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.