Lady Bobcats not taking foes for granted

Matt Hollinshead,
Bloomfield's Halle Payne attempts a shot against Miymura on Thursday, Feb. 22, 018 at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.

BLOOMFIELD – The Bloomfield girls basketball team embraces its status as one of 5A's top squads, but the Lady Bobcats also understand such greatness can be dashed at any time.

Losing its district regular-season finale to Farmington in overtime, up by just two points at halftime hosting Miyamura in the district semifinals and up just two after three quarters hosting Gallup in the district finals, the reality of it hit Bloomfield hard.

"It was a good awakening," sophomore shooting guard Halle Payne said.

With the state playoffs beginning Friday night, these last three games reminded BHS that it can't afford to take anyone lightly.

"I think it puts in perspective that we're not where we need to be, where we want to be," Payne said. "Our coaches drilled in our heads enough that we're not done."

BHS beat quality opponents like Piedra Vista, Los Lunas, Shiprock (twice), West Las Vegas and district foes Gallup (twice) and Kirtland Central (twice), which resulted in district regular season and district tournament titles. 

Bloomfield (23-5) has a legitimate chance to go all the way and hoist the blue trophy, which continues to motivate players to not let that opportunity slip through the cracks.

Even in the district tournament finals versus Gallup, Bloomfield refused to let up. Clinging to a 39-37 lead after three quarters, BHS ended the game on a 29-9 run.

"I knew we'd pull ahead," coach Tom Adair said.

The Lady Bobcats have accomplished so much thus far to where players are on guard, not overlooking anyone.

These last three games reminded Bloomfield that there will be no second chances.

"You've got to be ready," Adair said. "I've got eight seniors on this team. They're not going to take anyone lightly. They've earned the right to get to the Pit (in Albuquerque), and now we've got to take care of business."

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