Lady Scorps stun Kirtland Central 42-37

Farmington outscores Kirtland Central 26-11 in the second half to pick up its second win in district play and avenge a 20-point loss to the Lady Broncos

Karl Schneider

KIRTLAND — The Farmington girls basketball team picked up a huge win tonight, upsetting Kirtland Central 42-37 at Bronco Arena.

Kirtland Central's Jerica Holiday goes up for a shot against Farmington's Tamia Pete on Tuesday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

The win is snapped a three-game skid for the Lady Scorps and avenged a 64-44 loss in the two teams' previous meeting on Jan. 20 in Farmington.

"We're excited about it, and I'm excited for the girls," Farmington coach Brady Rivers said. "They worked hard in practice and paid attention to the game plan. This was probably as close to the game plan as we've been all season."

The loss was a blow to the Lady Broncos' hopes for a regular season District 1-5A title as they now trail Bloomfield, which is 6-0 in district play, by two games with three games left on KC's schedule.

"It was kind of one of those nights. I don't think anyone really played well. We kind of struggled all the way around," KC coach John Zecca said. "I had a bad feeling about this game. We didn't practice all that well (Monday). Sometimes, you need someone to step up, and that didn't really happen tonight."

After a slow first half from the Lady Scorps, Farmington trailed 26-16 at halftime. But the game plan didn't change for Farmington heading into the second half.

Despite the 10-point deficit, the Lady Scorps (8-14, 2-5) were executing their offense well and were winning the rebounding margin. The biggest problem was shots weren't falling.

"We haven't shot the ball well all year, so for us not so shoot well in the first half wasn't all that much of a shock," Rivers said. "I told the girls, 'I've never taken one of you out (of the game) for taking an open shot. If you're open, you need to take the shot and you need to shoot with confidence.'"

In the third quarter, Farmington slowly chipped away at KC's lead while the Lady Broncos (10-9, 5-2) went cold from the field. KC didn't score for the first 6:32 of the quarter, and got its first points on a pair of Haile Gleason free throws.

During the third, Farmington outscored KC 15-4 to take a 31-30 lead into the fourth.

Farmington's Jordan Vasquez attempts a shot against Kirtland Cental's Cortney Patterson, left, on Tuesday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

KC's offensive struggles continued in the fourth.

Down 38-35, KC freshman Talia Ockerman came up with a steal, went the length of the court and scored to get the Lady Broncos within 1 point with 1:30 remaining. Then on KC's next possession, Gleason got in the lane and drew a foul with 48 seconds remaining, but missed both free throws.

Farmington's Jordan Vasquez converted on the Lady Scorps' next possession and drew a foul for an and-one opportunity, but missed the free throw that would have pushed the lead to two possessions.

But Farmington grabbed the rebound, then got another offensive board when Vasquez cleaned up a missed layup and finished in the paint to push the lead to 5 and seal the win.

"(Rebounding) was the message at halftime. We needed to play good defense and rebound, and we just didn't do it," Zecca said. "Farmington's girls were just too much for us to handle. If we meet them again, we're going to have to do a better job, that's for sure."

Both teams will be back in action Friday.

Farmington will head to Aztec to face the Lady Tigers (12-10, 2-5) while the Lady Broncos travel to Gallup to take on Miyamura (8-15, 2-5).

Bloomfield 45, Aztec 38

Bloomfield's Kara Watchman scores around Aztec's Jessi Gillentine on Tuesday at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.

Bloomfield avoided a late-game letdown and stayed perfect in district play, holding off Aztec 45-38 tonight at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.

The Lady Bobcats were in control nearly the whole game, but in the final minutes, Aztec made a push and cut Bloomfield's lead to 41-38 with just more than one minute remaining.

But the Lady Bobcats (17-4, 6-0) made the plays they needed to in the final minute to pull out the win.

"It was a good hard-fought ball game. (Aztec) coach (Robert) McCaskill had an excellent game plan, and it was a good game," Bloomfield coach Tom Adair said. "I'm really proud of our girls. We're 6-0 in district and 17-4 overall."

Aztec (12-10, 2-5) struggled with its offense in the first half, settling for jumpers that wouldn't fall.

"We weren't very aggressive on offense," McCaskill said. "We settled for jump shots and didn't attack the rim. We just weren't aggressive. In the first half (Bloomfield) shot 15 free throws, and we only shot four."

In the second half, the Lady Tigers adjusted and began attacking the basket to get to the free-throw line, connecting on nine free throws to help them cut into the deficit.

Bloomfield's offense had its typical balance, getting 7 or more points from five different players. Seniors Destiny Walther and Kara Watchman led the Lady Bobcats with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

McCaskill said sophomore Jessi Gellentine, who finished with 6 points, was a spark for the Lady Tigers by playing great defense.

Bloomfield will host Gallup (10-11, 3-3) on Friday.

Aztec will host Farmington (8-14, 2-5) on Friday.

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