Lady Broncos featured balanced, versatile attack
KIRTLAND — The offense for the Kirtland Central girls basketball team continues to demonstrate it can do damage both early and late.
The Lady Broncos have the speed to set up quick scoring chances slashing through the lanes inside and out. They take off for easy transition buckets, and they can also locate nice spots for easy jumpers. KC’s shooters also have enough length and hop to go to the rim with ease and score on penetration.
"If we're not doing so good on shooting, then we can always go inside. If (an opposing defense) is packing it in, then we can always go outside for scoring opportunities," senior shooting guard Haile Gleason said. "I think it'll keep opponents on their toes because they don't know what to expect from us. If we control the tempo, we control them."
The Lady Broncos not only bury teams from the start, but can also push through tight contests and turn it on late when attacking the basket.
When wide-open shots aren't falling, KC keeps on driving toward the basket and easily draws contact, taking numerous trips to the foul line as a result.
“We’re fairly versatile when it comes to being able to drive and shoot,” coach John Zecca said. “Our post players are getting better about trying to score more, so that’s opening things up for the girls on the outside.”
Examples of Kirtland’s fast starts include its trip to Capital on Nov. 27, opening on a 40-21 run as part of a 68-40 win.
Examples of KC’s ability to close out games include the Lake Powell Holiday Classic tournament championship game on Dec. 2, where it went on a 25-14 fourth-quarter run to beat Arizona’s Chandler High 67-63. Other games decided at the end include KC’s 66-65 overtime win over Gallup on Thursday.
“When they’re playing with confidence, they’re very dangerous,” Zecca said.
Gleason said being able to open and finish games strong will help Kirtland Central (14-5, 4-1) entering the 5A state tournament because it'll help the Broncos be ready for different defenses, whether they encounter 2-3 zones or full-court presses.
KC wins critical District 1-5A bout Thursday at Bronco Arena.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.