BLOOMFIELD — Senior Ty Padilla and the Bloomfield boys basketball team weren't about to let Miyamura win on the Bobcats' home floor for the second time in less than a month.
A 5-foot-10 combination guard, Padilla is the lightest player on the Bloomfield roster at 130 pounds. But he proved on Tuesday against the Patriots that he's capable of heavily impacting basketball games on both sides of the court.
Bloomfield came into the opening-round game of the District 1-5A Tournament having lost five of its previous six contests. But behind Padilla's game-high 15 points — and his handful of steals on defense — the No. 4 Bobcats sprinted to a 57-46 win over the No. 5 Pats, which earned Bloomfield a spot in tonight's semifinal game at Kirtland Central.
"The biggest thing about Ty is, he's real selective about the shots that he takes," Bloomfield coach Randy Crockett said. "He even passes up some shots that maybe he should take. He never takes a bad (3-pointer) — when he shoots a 3, it's a good shot, and he's very comfortable and very confident in it, and we're very confident in him."
Padilla's first 9 points in Tuesday's win came via the 3-ball. He ranks second behind team-leading scorer Adriano Stevenson in points per game with 11.6. Padilla is also Bloomfield's deadliest 3-point shooter, averaging a team-high 2.4 makes per contest.
He showed just how hot he can get from behind the 3-point arch during a 74-68 win over Gallup on Jan. 26, when he drained six 3-pointers.
"It was just catch and shoot, catch and shoot. I had that confidence," Padilla said, of his hot streak against Gallup. "I had that trust in my own shot."
Lately, Padilla has been more conscious of attacking the basket. The work he's put into that area of his game was also on display during Bloomfield's win, as he cut through Miyamura's interior defense on more than one occasion in the final quarter to earn multiple trips to the free-throw line.
"I'm focusing on driving it now," Padilla said. "Whenever I'm open and when we need that momentum, I'm thinking of shooting 3s. I'm trying to drive whenever we need a foul or I see an opening."
Padilla went three for four from the charity stripe down the final stretch. His contributions as a closer were pivotal in a contest that got scary for Bobcat fans, who were reminded of Miyamura's Feb. 4 come-from-behind overtime win as the Pats cut a large, game-long, double-digit deficit down to just 6 points midway through the fourth period.
Padilla's backcourt mate, Damion Sanchez, clocks in at 5-foot-8 and 147 pounds, giving Bloomfield one of the smallest starting backcourts in the area. But Crockett said Padilla and Sanchez play off each other extremely well, especially on defense.
"Damion's quick. He's aggressive, he gets into guys," Crockett said. "And Ty's more long. Long arms, he deceives people how many passes he gets his hands on. Damion's more of the pressure guy, and Ty's good at anticipating. And one being left-handed and one being right-handed is a huge advantage when it comes to ball handling."
Padilla, the right-handed half of the duo, had a lower profile than he does now during last season's Class 4A State Tournament, which saw Bloomfield advance to the quarterfinals, further than it ever had in school history. He conceded touches to Stevenson, and former seniors Malachi Pablo and Christian Chavez last year.
Down the stretch this season, there should be a few more eyes on Padilla, as well as some extra attention paid by the opposition. But Padilla said he understands that, particularly because he knows he's not in it alone.
"I'm just going to have to work hard and work hard with my teammates," Padilla said. "We just have to work hard and trust each other. We can get things done if we work together."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.