FARMINGTON — The Kirtland Central girls basketball team showed how quickly it can turn around a game around, dominating after the first quarter to pick up a road win against Aztec.
The Lady Broncos were stymied by Aztec and 6-foot-2 post Reigan Weaver in the first quarter, but adjusted and took control for a 46-40 victory in their District 1-5A opener tonight at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.
After the first period, the Lady Tigers (10-6, 0-1 District 1-5A) were in control 12-4, and built their lead to 17-6 early in the second quarter while KC struggled to get shots over Weaver.
“Early on, we were being aggressive with our drives against their zone, but she was waiting for us,” KC coach John Zecca said of Weaver. “We said going into the game that we needed to shot fake her and get her in the air, but I think the nerves were going early on. She was definitely a factor.”
But the Lady Broncos (6-7, 1-0) found a way around Weaver. Zecca said the team started to push the pace, trying to get the ball down court before Weaver could set up in the paint, and used backdoor cuts to get behind Aztec’s 1-3-1 zone defense.
“We knew there was no sense trying to shoot over (Weaver), so we tried to spread them out a little bit. The girls did a good job finding gaps on the baseline, and the girls up top did a good job of finding them. You’re going to have that against a 1-3-1. If you can beat their traps you can find people open underneath.”
KC ended the second quarter on an 11-2 run and trailed 19-17 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Lady Broncos heated up from long range, connecting on three 3-pointers while the Lady Tigers struggled to build any momentum.
“With us, it’s all about what team shows up,” Aztec coach Robert McCaskill said. “We need to reconnect with who we are. We need to be consistent and not have these ebbs and flows in the late part of the season.”
KC led 36-26 heading into the fourth quarter and led most of the final quarter by double digits. But in the final minute Aztec cut into the lead.
After KC missed on a couple sets of free throws, the Lady Tigers cut the lead to 46-40 with 42 seconds remaining.
But the Lady Tigers failed to foul after getting within two possessions, allowing KC to dribble the clock down to six seconds before committing a foul.
Haile Gleason led KC with 19 points.
Weaver paced Aztec with 11 points and Kamrynn Gordon added 10.
Aztec and KC will both be back in action Friday night.
Aztec will take on Bloomfield (12-4, 1-0) on the road.
The Lady Broncos are back on the road for the 13th time this season to face Farmington (6-9, 0-1).
Bloomfield 59, Miyamura 50
After suffering back-to-back losses at the Hope Christian Invitational over the weekend, the Lady Bobcats got back on track with a 59-50 win over Miyamura in their District 1-5A opener tonight at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.
Using its full-court press, Bloomfield forced turnovers that led to fast break buckets and had the Lady Bobcats up big early in the game.
“We came out and played well, and were up 20 in the second quarter,” Bloomfield coach Tom Adair said. “But then we had some turnovers and fouls to let them back in the game.”
Heading to the fourth quarter, Miyamura (6-11, 0-1) cut Bloomfield’s lead to 2 points and trailed 40-38. But the Lady Bobcats (12-4, 1-0) got a boost from junior Mattie Waresback, who came off the bench to score 4 of her 8 points in the final quarter.
Seniors Destiney Walther and Kara Watchman led Bloomfield with 14 points apiece.
Bloomfield will be back home Friday, hosting Aztec (10-6, 0-1).
Gallup 62, Farmington 52
Farmington couldn’t overcome a slew of turnovers, seeing its second-half comeback bid fall short as the Lady Scorps dropped their District 1-5A opener to Gallup 62-52 tonight in Gallup.
“We had a good start and got some easy baskets,” Farmington coach Brady Rivers said. “Then, in the second quarter, they started knocking down open shots, and we turned the ball over too much.”
Farmington (6-9, 0-1) trailed 35-27 at the start of the third quarter and got the deficit to 2 points in the fourth, but turnovers and missed free throws at crucial times in the game allowed the Lady Bengals (7-8, 1-0) to pull away for the win.
Lyla Denny led Farmington with 18 points. Tamia Pete added 16 for the Lady Scorps.
Farmington will host Kirtland Central (6-7, 1-0) Friday night at Scorpion Gym.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.