Kirtland Central hopes to put team speed to good use

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KIRTLAND — The returning players for the Kirtland Central girls basketball team this season are a speedy bunch, and coach John Zecca looks to capitalize on that advantage while assessing his team’s defense.

The Lady Broncos run a matchup zone defense, but they’ll incorporate more full-court pressing within that system this winter.

“We have some girls that anticipate well and look to get in the passing lanes,” Zecca said. “We do have some speed, so we’re going to try to utilize that the best we can.”

In years past, KC didn’t press quite as often out of concern that opposing shooters would blow right by them and get easy buckets.

In order to prevent press-breakers, the Broncos also are stressing falling back to their spots sooner and having good timing when locking down shooters.

Aside from getting quick steals, KC also will use the press to help disrupt the opposing team's rhythm bringing the ball up the floor.

But the benefits don’t end there.

“I think we’ll get a lot more scoring opportunities. It’ll give us a chance to be able to get down the court more,” forward Shayonna Begay said.

Begay, forwards Candace Patterson and Talia Ockerman and shooting guard Avery Begay are among KC’s returners, all of whom have good speed guarding the lanes.

Zecca said this the deepest squad he’s had in recent memory, especially in the backcourt.

Kirtland Central (14-11 last year) opens the new campaign at 7 p.m. Tuesday at home against Piedra Vista.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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