Damion Sanchez and Brendon Charley combined for 32 points as the Bobcats defeated their former head coach Devon Manning and the host Panthers
FARMINGTON — It was hardly a coincidence that the Bloomfield boys basketball team put together one of its best all-around performances of the season against its former head coach.
The Bobcats (5-7) went into the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse tonight and controlled the game from start to finish, beating head coach Devon Manning's Piedra Vista team 50-39.
Senior guard Damion Sanchez got Bloomfield off on the right foot by dropping 10 quick points in the first quarter. Sanchez said facing his former coach gave him an added jolt of energy.
"Going against coach Manning gave us a lot of drive, so I figured I'd come out with a good start and just kind of have trust in the offense and my teammates to give me good looks," Sanchez said. "And the shots were falling tonight."
Manning, who was Bloomfield's lead man for four seasons before leaving the school for Piedra Vista (7-8) last summer, said interacting with his former players before tip-off was a little emotional.
"It was hard to see them on the other side," Manning said. "It was a little nerve racking. What really killed was the handshakes at the beginning. But, once that whistle blew, it was, 'Who's better?'"
Bloomfield was more lively than the hosts on the glass and played solid defense against PV, which struggled to ever find a flow.
The Panthers scored only two field goals in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing by 10. Manning said the game plan was to try and score in the paint, but his players apparently didn't get that memo.
"We saw gaps in that zone where we could get to the post and get to the mid post, but we abandoned it," Manning said. "I don't know how many times we yelled at our guys to get it inside. And I told Jason (Compton) and Brady (Brown), 'You guys should be mad at your guards, because they didn't give you the ball as much.'"
The Panthers worked hard to get the deficit down to 7 points in the third quarter, but they continuously shot themselves in the foot with turnovers and a general failure to box out on the defensive glass.
PV did hold Bloomfield's leading scorer Adriano Stevenson to just 6 points in the game, but other Bobcats stepped up in his offensive absence. Sanchez led the way with 18 points, and Brendon Charley hit a handful of big jump shots on his way to 14 points and more than 10 rebounds.
"That's what makes them so tough," Manning said about Bloomfield. "You take one of their scorers away, someone else will go get them 15 or 18. They just care about the win."
Charley picked up his second straight double-double for Bloomfield, which has now won three straight games after previously losing six in a row. Bobcats coach Randy Crockett said tonight's win might have been his team's most impressive one to date.
"That's probably the biggest win thus far, on the road against a 6A team," Crockett said. "They're ranked higher statewide than we are, so that will probably help us with our seeding, and that's what we're looking for."
Bloomfield led by as many as 16 points late in the game. The Bobcats try to keep rolling when they return home to challenge Valencia (3-13) Friday.
The Panthers, who were paced in scoring by Jarrett Graham and his 18 points, also play in the second half of a back-to-back set when Los Lunas (11-1) comes to town.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.