Late surge lifts Lady Bobcats over PV 46-41

Karl Schneider
  • Tanisha Begay dropped 31 points to lead Shiprock past Tohatchi 78-74.
  • The Lady Eagles flew past Crownpoint for 67-29 victory.

BLOOMFIELD — When the Bloomfield girls basketball team needed a spark in the final minutes against Piedra Vista, Kara Watchman answered the call.

Bloomfield's Kara Watchman makes a pass against Piedra Vista on Thursday at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.

What had been a forgettable game for the senior, who had just 1 point entering the fourth quarter, turned into a clutch performance as Watchman scored 6 straight points in the final few minutes to propel the Lady Bobcats to a 46-41 win tonight at Bobcat Gym.

“Kara Watchman is a warrior. She may be having a bad game, but we know she’s going to do whatever it takes to get the win at the end,” Bloomfield coach Tom Adair said. “She just keeps battling. She did it against Grants, she did the same thing against Los Lunas and Shiprock. She’s a battler. When things aren’t going well, she doesn’t give up.”

While Watchman shined down the stretch, PV faltered.

The Lady Panthers had chances to build their lead, tie or retake the lead at the free-throw line, but failed to capitalize, missing seven free throws in the fourth quarter.

Bloomfield's Shushshawnie Pierce, left, and Piedra Vista's Ellyce Reed fight for a rebound on Thursday at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.

“The free throws in the fourth quarter are inexcusable,” PV coach Joe Reed said. “You can’t miss (seven) free throws in the fourth quarter. We basically did it to ourselves tonight. It was a lack of focus out there.”

Both sides had a slow start to the game.

Throughout the first half, the Lady Bobcats (6-1) and Lady Panthers (5-2) missed a number of shots in the paint, and at halftime, PV held an 18-17 lead.

It was the second straight game PV struggled to finish around the basket, something Reed said was the result of a lack of focus. For Bloomfield, Adair said he thought the early misses were a product of the Lady Bobcats’ nervous energy in the first half.

Bloomfield shook off the nerves in the third quarter, outscoring PV 16-10 to take a 33-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

But PV came out firing in the fourth, going on a 10-3 run over the first four minutes to take a 38-36 lead before Watchman took charge.

Bloomfield's Halle Payne attacks the basket against Piedra Vista on Thursday at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.

Destiny Walther and Watchman led Bloomfield with 8 points each.

Kristi Lee Bennie led PV with 9 points, and Elli Wright added 8.

PV won’t have any time to dwell on the loss as the Lady Panthers play at crosstown rival Farmington (4-4) Friday night at Scorpion Gym.

“We can’t sit around and pout about it too long. We have to come back tomorrow and go play our archrival,” Reed said.

The two teams already met once this season with PV sneaking away with a 38-37 win at the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament in Shiprock on Dec. 1.

Bloomfield will be back on the court at Bobcat Gym Saturday, hosting Colorado’s Montemuza-Cortez at 2 p.m.

Shiprock 78, Tohatchi 74

Shiprock senior Tanisha Begay put on a clinic in the Lady Chieftains’ 78-74 win over Tohatchi tonight on the road.

The senior guard lit up the Lady Cougars (8-4) for 31 points, making only one 3-pointer and going four for four from the free-throw line.

“She could have scored at will. She was the tallest player out there and one of the quickest,” Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said. “I told her, ‘You can score at will any time you want to, so do it,’ and she did.”

But it wasn’t all Begay in the win. Three other Lady Chiefs finished with double figures. Paige Dale had 17, Melanie Secody added 14 and Kylie McKinley chipped in 10.

Shiprock (9-2) held a comfortable lead for most of the second half, and Henderson said the Lady Chieftains could have won by a larger margin, but the team struggled at times with confidence, often hesitating or passing up open shots.

Shiprock will get a chance to avenge one of its losses when the Lady Chiefs travel to Farmington on Tuesday to face Piedra Vista. PV (5-2) beat Shiprock 37-36 on Dec. 3.

Navajo Prep 67, Crownpoint 29

The Navajo Prep girls basketball team rolled to a 67-29 win over Crownpoint (2-5) tonight in Crownpoint.

The Lady Eagles (6-1) will be back in action Friday, hosting Taos (7-3) at the Eagles Nest.

Prep already has a win over the Lady Tigers, beating them 53-50 on Dec. 1 during the Santa Fe Indian School tournament.

Prep coach Rainy Crisp could not be reached for comment.

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