FARMINGTON — The Shiprock girls basketball team is on a roll right now.
The Lady Chieftains keep finding ways to pick up wins, including tonight’s 78-62 victory over rival Kirtland Central at the Bronco Arena in Kirtland.
“The girls, there’s something about them. They’re starting to play really well, and they’re starting to step into their roles,” Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said. “And they’re not afraid to try, even knowing they could fail. It takes a team to win, and I’m seeing them step up, and I’m excited about it.”
KC started the game well, taking a 17-14 lead after the first quarter, and went into halftime trailing 37-34.
KC guard Haile Gleason led the Lady Broncos in the first half, and Henderson said that at halftime part of Shiprock’s focus was to key in on Gleason defensively.
Shiprock assigned Paige Dale and Melanie Secody to try to lock down Gleason, which slowed down the Lady Broncos and allowed the Lady Chiefs to go on a couple of runs in the second half.
“I thought in the first half our defense was pretty good. We didn’t rebound well, but we forced some turnovers in the first half, and we were hitting our shots as well,” KC coach John Zecca said. “It was just a case of, in the second half, they put some runs on us. One thing we’re trying to learn is basketball is a game of runs, and we’re trying to take those runs with a little less of a punch to the face, so to speak.”
Shiprock finished the game with four players in double figures, led by Tanisha Begay with 19 points. But Henderson said the night belonged to junior Kylie McKinley, who had a breakout performance with 16 points.
“I’ve been waiting for her to come around and have a game like this,” Henderson said of McKinley. “She’s been getting 2 points here and 3 points there, and I know she’s capable of doing things like this.”
Secody finished with 16 points for Shiprock, and Dale added 10.
Gleason led KC with 20 points and Tiajhae Nez chipped in 12 points.
Bloomfield 65, Tohatchi 57
The Bloomfield girls basketball team earned another good win tonight, holding off 3A power Tohatchi 65-57 at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.
“They (Tohatchi) have a very good team. We played well, and I felt like we controlled the whole game,” Bloomfield coach Tom Adair said. “We played really good defense and got some turnovers off of our press. That’s what we want, our defense to produce our offense.”
Adair added that the Lady Bobcats out-rebounded Tohatchi and had their best passing game of the season, sharing the ball well and finding the open player for clean looks at the basket.
Destiny Walther led the Lady Bobcats with 13 points. Brandi Alcantar finished with 12 points and Kara Watchman added 10.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.