KIRTLAND — The Aztec girls basketball team put on a defensive clinic during its 47-36 win over Kirtland Central in the District 1-5A semifinals Wednesday night at Bronco Arena.
While the Lady Tigers were defensively brilliant from top to the bottom of the lineup, Reigan Weaver was the difference maker.
The 6-foot-2 sophomore patrolled the defensive paint, swatting away a handful of KC's shots and altering even more when the Lady Broncos attacked the basket in the first half.
With the shot-blocking presence of Weaver, the Lady Broncos were forced to settle for jump shots on the perimeter.
But it wasn't only defense Weaver provided in the win. She dominated the offensive glass, grabbing missed shots for easy put backs or kept the ball alive, using her length to tip the ball away from KC and out to her teammates.
Weaver finished the night with 12 points despite missing a large portion of the second half with foul trouble.
"She's doing a great job. We're still working on her footwork in the post and sliding her feet on defense," Aztec coach Robert McCaskill said. "When you're that tall, you're going to have opportunities to block shots, but her timing is what's really pleasing to me. She times blocks very well."
As great as she was, Weaver showed her youth and inexperience in the second half. She picked up her fourth foul of the game late in the third quarter and fouled out with 3:55 left in the fourth.
While she didn't necessarily agree with all of the foul calls against her, Weaver admitted that she put herself in a bad position on most of those calls.
"I need to do a better job moving my feet, and I need to be smarter, especially when I have four fouls," Weaver said. "I need to be a lot smarter and not swing at every ball for a block."
The win over KC was Aztec's third in four games, and all three wins came after the Lady Tigers held their opponent to fewer than 50 points.
The roll that they're on could be just what the Lady Tigers need to propel them to a victory Friday night in the district championship game against Bloomfield and even a win in the first round of the 5A state tournament next week.
"We just want to win. We know we have the potential to win, and we know we can win," Weaver said. "We know we can get to where we want, and that's The Pit. And we know we will."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.