KC gets rocked by Los Lunas in 5A quarterfinals

KC puts up just 9 points in the first half, falls 60-36 in second-round playoff tilt

Farmington Daily Times

ALBUQUERQUE — The youth of the Kirtland Central girls basketball team was glaring tonight at The Pit.

Kirtland Central's Haile Gleason shoots over Los Lunas' Mica Jenrette on Tuesday during their 5A quarterfinal game in Albuquerque.

The seventh-seeded Lady Broncos were out of it by halftime against a scorching Los Lunas team that has gone 21-2 since getting off to a 1-5 start to the season. KC turned the ball over 26 times and fell 60-36 to the No. 2 seed in the 5A state quarterfinal match-up.

KC coach John Zecca, who doesn't have a senior on his current roster, said his girls had a tendency to rush things today, especially when Los Lunas (22-7) applied its full-court press.

"When things get a little shaky, we tend to rush and not look around and take our time to see the open people," Zecca said. "A lot of times, it's an easy pass but we're just not seeing things because of, well, I don't want to call it panic, but we start to rush."

The Lady Broncos (14-11) managed just four field goals in the first half. Haile Gleason, 5A's third-highest scorer during the regular season with 14.7 points per game, was shut down in the first half, finishing it with three fouls and 0 points. She had only 7 points in the game.

Gleason wasn't sure if the Lady Broncos were prepared for Los Lunas.

"A lot of the girls weren't really focused on this game, I think," Gleason said. "We seemed kind of overconfident before, and then once we started losing, we really got nervous and started forcing passes and making turnovers."

KC went into halftime behind 39-7. At that point, with the game basically unwinnable, Zecca said he put an emphasis on defense after halftime.

"We had to first start on the defensive end," he said. "We played man (defense) in the second half, and we don't play a whole lot of man, so, we were going to make mistakes."

The coach also praised Los Lunas' winning mindset.

"I really commend that team, Los Lunas," Zecca said. "They came out, and you could tell they were just a really focused team. You could tell that maybe the girls on the floor hadn't been there before, but you could tell their program has been there. They had the right attitude, where, I'm not so sure we did. I think we were a little bit unsure of ourselves coming into this game. Sometimes, you learn better from losses than wins, and hopefully, we did tonight."

KC did at least win the final quarter of play by an 18-14 margin.

Talia Ockerman was the top scorer for KC, finishing up with 10 points in the season-ending loss.

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