FARMINGTON — When the Shiprock girls basketball team is hitting its 3-pointers and its free throws, the Lady Chieftains are nearly impossible to beat.
Bloomfield learned that first hand in Albuquerque today on the second day of the Hope Christian Tournament.
Shiprock won its fifth straight game by topping the Lady Bobcats 68-58 behind a game-high 20 points from Paige Dale and a great shooting day for Melanie Secody off the bench.
The Lady Chieftains were blindsided 10-0 in the early going until Secody, who finished with 14 points, came off the bench to hit two 3s in the opening quarter to pull Shiprock (15-3) back into the game.
"The girls right now, they're surprising me," Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said. "We're finding ways to win games. Melanie came in when we needed points, and she gave us points."
Up by just 3 points at halftime, Henderson said he told his girls to bring the energy in the third quarter, and that's exactly what they did.
"I saw (Bloomfield) really sucking wind in the second quarter so I said, 'They're tired now, we need to come out in the third quarter and eliminate some of their hope of getting back into the game,'" Henderson said.
Shiprock responded with a backbreaking 25-11 third-quarter run to put the game out of reach. Even a 21-14 fourth-quarter advantage for Bloomfield (11-3) still resulted in a 10-point Lady Chief win, due in large part to their 10-of-13 clip from the free-throw line in the final period.
Lady Bobcats coach Tom Adair held a brief team meeting after the game to remind his players that they need to play as a unit.
"I feel like as a team, we can beat anybody," Adair said. "But we've got to get rid of selfish attitudes. There's two things you can always control, and that's your effort and your attitude. And I give Shiprock total credit, they're playing as a basketball team right now. That's what we have to do every night."
Kara Watchman paced Bloomfield with 18 points.
With the win, Shiprock finished with a 2-1 record against Bloomfield in their regular-season series.
Shiprock takes on host Hope Christian (13-2) in the tourney final Saturday at 5 p.m., but first, Bloomfield and Los Lunas (9-7) square off in the third-place game at 2 p.m.
Northwest 50, Santa Fe Prep 13
The Northwest girls basketball team notched its second win of the season in dominating fashion during the second day of the Cuba Invitational today.
After dropping Thursday’s opening-round game 48-33 to Mesa Vista, the Lady Falcons crushed Santa Fe Prep 50-13 in the consolation bracket.
Northwest coach Mike Christy said the Lady Falcons played well, executing their offense and defense throughout the game.
Christy added that the win, the team’s first since Dec. 2, should be a boost in the Lady Falcons’ confidence with the District 1-2A schedule beginning next week.
Bloomfield 50, Socorro 44
The Bloomfield boys basketball team had a slow start for the second day in a row at the Hope Christian Invitational.
But unlike Thursday’s opening-round loss to West Las Vegas, the Bobcats overcame a poor first half to knock off Socorro 50-44 today in Albuquerque.
“Today, we weren’t mentally focused at the beginning of the game. It seems like we have to get behind before we start playing with a sense of urgency,” Bloomfield coach Randy Crockett said. “It’s definitely a concern going into district play (next week). We have to get that figured out.”
The Bobcats (6-8) trailed by 8 points at halftime, but started the second half with more intensity to push past the Warriors (7-9).
Adriano Stevenson led Bloomfield with 19 points. Ty Padilla added 12 in the win.
The Bobcats will face Hot Springs (7-9) in the fifth-place game Saturday.
Hope Christian 68, Shiprock 53
Shiprock took a 1-point lead into halftime but struggled mightily in the second half of its 68-53 loss to Hope Christian in Albuquerque today.
Ahead by as many as 4 points late in the second quarter, a couple of turnovers helped Hope (12-4) close the gap just before the halftime buzzer.
The Chieftains (4-10) then succumbed to the Huskies' tough defensive after the break.
"We just couldn't get into our offensive sets. They tightened up defensively," Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty said. "We kept freezing up and had to take time to think about things. That cost us a few turnovers here and there, and transition points."
Shiprock meets Taos (8-8) in the consolation bracket on Saturday, the final day of the Hope Christian tournament.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.