KIRTLAND — The Kirtland Central boys basketball team lacked energy all night until its back was firmly against the wall.
Trailing by as many as 11 points early in the fourth quarter, the Broncos (14-9, 6-2 District 1-5A) finally turned up their intensity level and came back to beat Miyamura 81-73 in overtime tonight at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.
"That first half was just a complete lack of effort by almost everybody, in my opinion," Broncos coach Brian Dowdy said. "Second half, they pulled it together, give them credit. And that's why we won, was effort. It's not like we started heating up from the 3-point line or anything like that."
Miyamura's game plan was to run every chance it got, and the Patriots (11-13, 2-6) executed that game plan in the first half.
The Pats went into halftime with a 33-26 lead and didn't get complacent. A 10-point quarter from Gabe Lee Jr. propelled the visitors to an 8-point lead after three quarters, and once the Pats increased that lead to 11, a switch flipped for the Broncos.
Jariah Setzer and Terrin Willie led the turnaround by playing pesky, hard-nosed defense and combining for 13 points on the offensive end. Also contributing to the comeback were a handful of key swipes by Setzer and better all-around rebounding by the Broncos, who forced overtime with a 68-68 tie.
KC dominated the extra period and improved to 4-1 in overtime games dating back to the beginning of last season. The Broncos bottled the momentum they gained late in regulation and bolted past the Pats with a 13-5 OT run.
Dowdy said there's just been something about his players and overtime the past couple of years.
"It went to overtime and (assistant) coach (Steve) Williams yelled, 'You got this now!'" Dowdy said. "And I looked them in the eye and said, 'You're going to win this, because that's what you do in overtime.'"
Colby Mitchell created separation for his team by attacking the basket and scoring the game's final 6 points.
Willie and Bryson Dowdy paced KC with 17 points apiece.
The Broncos host a Bloomfield (12-11, 5-3) team on Thursday that is reeling, having lost three of its last four.
Farmington 76, Aztec 47
The Scorpions made it three wins in three tries over Aztec by stinging the Tigers 76-47 tonight at Scorpion Gym in Farmington.
Farmington (21-3, 7-1) played its game from the opening whistle until the final buzzer.
"We pushed the ball on them and pressed them hard," Scorps coach Paul Corley said. "Overall, it was a really good night."
Eleven of 12 Scorpions scored the basketball on senior night. Farmington had the game won by halftime, as the score was 49-19 at the break.
Aztec (5-19, 0-8) coach Matthew Steinfeldt said his team had a hard time against Farmington's pressure defense, despite finding relative success against it when the teams met on Jan. 26.
"We never really got into form," Steinfeldt said. "Turnovers forced the tempo in the game and made it so we had to play on their side of the court and never on ours."
One area of improvement for FHS in comparison to its narrow 49-40 win over Aztec in January was free-throw shooting: The Scorps missed 27 freebies last time, but went 25 for 36 from the line in tonight's win.
Nick Granger dropped a game-high 22 points for the hosts, and Sol Rascon was right behind him with 19.
Nobody on the Tiger roster hit double digits.
On Thursday, the Scorps visit Miyamura, while Aztec is home to face Gallup (10-14, 4-4).
Gallup 50, Bloomfield 40
Now firmly in third place in District 1-5A, Bloomfield's road to a district title got even bumpier following an away loss to Gallup tonight.
The Bobcats rallied back from a 5-point halftime deficit to take a 1-point lead by the end of three quarters, but couldn't overcome the foul differential they faced in the fourth quarter and fell 50-40 to the Bengals.
"The kids played really well tonight," Bloomfield coach Randy Crockett said. "What hurt us was, going into the fourth quarter, we had three fouls, they had eight. Then at the end of the game, we had 11 fouls and they had eight. I normally don't want to say officials beat you, but in this particular case, they probably did."
Brendon Charley netted 14 points in the loss and Ty Padilla added 11 for the Bobcats.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.