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Broncos sprint past Tigers for district win

Karl Schneider
kschneider@daily-times.com

FARMINGTON — The Kirtland Central boys basketball team pushed the pace and made Aztec play an up-and-down style that had the Tigers uncomfortable at times, leading to a 74-68 KC victory tonight at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

Kirtland Central's Bryson Dowdy scores over Aztec's Chase Morrison on Thursday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

Aztec kept up with the Broncos for most of the first half, and at halftime, KC held a 44-35 lead.

“We were running the floor extremely well. We were getting up and down,” KC coach Brian Dowdy said. “We controlled the tempo and played our game. I told the boys at halftime not to worry because we were playing our pace, and we’d be fine.”

In the third, KC kept the pace brisk and ran away from Aztec, outscoring the Tigers 22-5 in the quarter.

“We kind of got into a mental funk,” Aztec coach Matthew Steinfeldt said of the third quarter. “We got under some pressure and had a few turnovers and didn’t play very well offensively. We certainly got into a track meet with Kirtland, which is a little out of character for us.”

With a 66-40 lead going into the fourth quarter, KC (9-7, 1-0 District 1-5A) elected to sit its starters and have its reserves close out the game.

But the Tigers (5-12, 0-1) kept fighting and cut into the lead more and more.

Aztec put enough pressure on the Broncos that Dowdy put his top rotation back in to prevent a collapse.

The KC starters went on a quick run to rebuild a lead the Tigers couldn’t come back from.

KC junior Bryson Dowdy nearly recorded a triple-double in the win, finishing with 23 points, eight assists and nine rebounds.

Terrin Willie added 15 points and Colby Mitchell chipped in 11 for the Broncos.

Aztec's Cody Smith goes up for a shot against Kirtland Central on Thursday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

Cody Smith led Aztec with 15 points. Tanner Brooks added 12 in the loss.

Aztec will be on the road again Saturday, travelling to Bloomfield to face the Bobcats (8-8, 1-0).

KC will be back at home to host Farmington (15-2, 1-0) on Saturday.

Bloomfield 60, Miyamura 49

Bloomfield was plagued by another slow start and let Miyamura (9-8, 0-1 )run wild in the first quarter, but the Bobcats recovered to earn a 60-49 win tonight in Gallup.

“We got down 26-18 at the end of the first quarter. They had one player, (Jason Upshaw) who was going off on us. He had 15 points in the first quarter,” Bloomfield coach Randy Crockett said.

The biggest adjustment the Bobcats (8-8, 1-0) made to keep Upshaw in check was pulling back on their full-court press. Crockett said that while running the press, Upshaw was able to slip away and find openings while Bloomfield fell back into its half-court defense.

Trailing at halftime, Bloomfield chipped away at the deficit in the third quarter and took a small lead at the end of the quarter before pulling away in the fourth.

Damian Sanchez led the Bobcats with 15 points. Zach Watts and Adriano Stevenson added 13 points apiece.

After spending most of the season on the road, the Bobcats will be at home for just the third time all season on Saturday, hosting Aztec (5-12, 0-1).

Shiprock 61, Crownpoint 60

The Chieftains made a couple of huge plays on defense in the final 30 seconds to hold off Crownpoint and complete a fourth-quarter comeback tonight in Crownpoint.

Shiprock, which trailed the entire game, faced a 9-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, but clamped down on defense and finally got some shots to fall to take a 61-60 lead with less than one minute remaining.

Needing a stop, the Chieftains (7-11) flooded the passing lanes and came up with a steal to seal the victory.

“That fourth-quarter push and pressure really helped us,” Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty said. “They got a couple good looks to win it, but we deflected one pass, then got a steal that allowed us to dribble it around for the last seconds.”

Crownpoint (3-10) connected on nearly everything it put up in the first half, shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 75 percent from long range. Darnel Cook led the Eagles’ attack, scoring 19 points in the first half, but the Chiefs keyed in on the sophomore guard and held him to 2 points in the second half.

Arvin Begay led Shiprock with 14 points. Landon Henderson added 11 and Cota Nahkai finished with 9.

After playing six games in 10 days, Shiprock will get the next week off to prepare for its District 1-4A opener at home against Navajo Prep (12-6).

Dulce 67, Navajo Prep 49

The Eagles have hit a midseason wall and struggled for the second game in a row to find the passion that pushed the team to a successful first half of the season, falling to Dulce 67-49 tonight on the road.

“I don’t know what it is. The last two nights, we haven’t been able to get going,” Prep coach Rick Hoerner said. “We looked like a tired, disinterested ball team.”

The Eagles trailed by 4 points at halftime, but Hoerner said the team had a horrible third quarter that allowed Dulce (11-6) to pull away.

Terhall Martinez led the Eagles with 13 points.

Prep will play at Crownpoint (3-10) on Tuesday before opening play in District 1-4A at Shiprock on Thursday.

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