Bobcats down Broncos for sixth straight win

Adriano Stevenson drops 28 points, is perfect with his free throws as Bobcats roll to another victory

Jake Newby

BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield boys basketball team is on fire right now.

Bloomfield's Damion Sanchez beats Kirtland Central's Jariah Setzer on a layup on Saturday at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.

A 2-7 start to the season is a distant memory now for the Bobcats (11-8, 4-0 District 1-5A), who sit alone at the top of their district after picking up their sixth straight win tonight by outlasting rival Kirtland Central 70-61.

"It's a big win for us, but it's still early," Bloomfield coach Randy Crockett said. "We just want to continue what we're doing. We're kind of on a roll right now, we just want to keep that going."

Bloomfield took a 17-10 lead into what would become a seesaw second quarter, with the teams trading runs in a fast-paced game. The Bobcats got a huge lift from senior guard Adriano Stevenson, who hit four first-half 3-pointers and scored 16 of his game-high 28 points before halftime.

Crockett said Stevenson, who made plays for his teammates and forced turnovers all night, has been invaluable to Bloomfield since returning from an injury more than three weeks ago.

"He contributes everything — he contributes heart, he contributes leadership, he contributes a lot of points, but he plays good defense as well," Crockett said. "He means a lot to this team. It's nice to have him back healthy."

The Bobcats led KC (11-8, 3-1) by 4 points at both halftime and the conclusion of the third quarter. They never allowed the Broncos to usurp them on the scoreboard in the final two periods.

KC came into the game hot as well, having won seven of its last eight games, but just couldn't crack a fundamentally disciplined Bobcats squad on the road.

"For us, we just got outplayed," KC coach Brian Dowdy said. "They executed, and we didn't. I never felt like we got into our game or our pace, and that's on Bloomfield for playing a really fundamental game on both sides of the court."

Dowdy said he wished his team penetrated the lane more, instead of settling for jump shots.

Kirtland Central's Bryson Dowdy drives between Bloomfield's Brendon Charley (far left) and Ty Padilla (right) for a shot in the fourth quarter on Saturday at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.

"When we went to the hole, we did pretty good," he said. "So I have no idea why we kept going away from that."

The Broncos were again within 4 points at the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter, but got into the penalty bonus around then, and Bloomfield took full advantage.

Led by Stevenson's 12-for-12 effort from the free-throw line and eight-for-eight mark in the fourth, the Bobcats kept their rivals at bay by sinking free throws. As a team, Bloomfield was 14 for 18 from the line in the fourth.

Crockett lifted his starters when the Bobcats went ahead by 12 points with a little more than a minute to go, and KC briefly took advantage with a quick 6-0 run. But the Bloomfield coach stuck with his bench players, and they didn't let things get any scarier than that.

Bloomfield guard Rogelio Gonzales was one of those reserves who validated Crockett's faith in the bench unit. The sophomore hit three of his four late-game FTs.

"It's a game where you feel like you have it in control, you don't want to get a starter hurt, and at the same time, your young kids have to learn to win, too," Crockett said.

Bryson Dowdy stayed hot in the loss by following up his 28-point performance against Miyamura on Thursday with 26 points tonight.

Bloomfield heads to Farmington (17-3, 3-1) for another huge game on Thursday, the same day KC hosts Gallup (8-12, 2-2).

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.