Lady Broncos eye scoring resurgence in playoffs

Kirtland Central girls hope to break out of offensive funk

Matt Hollinshead,
Kirtland Central's Siigrid Lii'bilnaghahi puts up a shot against Bloomfield defender Alyssa Quintana during a district game on Feb. 15 at Bronco Arena. KC hopes to reignite its offense to open the 5A state playoffs.
  • Kirtland Central has lost five of its last seven games.
  • The Lady Broncos face Farmington Friday in the first round of the state tournament.
  • KC hopes to keep pushing the pace, but is emphasizing preventing wasted possessions.

KIRTLAND — The Kirtland Central girls basketball team hopes to be able to relax again on the scoring end.

The Lady Broncos hoped to build on their 66-point scoring outburst last month versus Gallup, but the thought of it became overwhelming. Players started overthinking things, rushing their shots and fast-break chances.

“We’re missing a bunch of the little easy shots that we usually take,” sophomore guard Talia Ockerman said. “When things are going bad, we rush it and lose the ball a lot. I think we’re trying to be too perfect.”

Having lost five of its last seven games, and averaging just 42.4 points a contest during that seven-game span, KC looks to rectify its scoring woes entering Friday’s 5A state playoff opener against Farmington.

“I think it’s lasted longer than what we’ve hoped for, as far as a shooting slump. If you let it get to your head or affect you mentally, then it can snowball in a hurry,” coach John Zecca said. "We're a better team than what we've been lately, and we're trying to fix it any way we can."

Kirtland (16-10) is working on things like making cleaner passes going on the attack, as well as being more patient in setting up quick shots.

As much as KC wants to keep pushing the pace, it also wants to keep things simple to help prevent wasted possessions.

Kirtland Central's Talia Ockerman drives to the basket for a fast-break layup during a district game on Feb. 8 at Farmington. The Lady Broncos look to end to their current scoring slump, starting with Friday's 5A state playoff opener against the Scorpions.

"Once we can just play the game of basketball without having to worry about too much and be confident out there, then we're fine," Zecca said.

Ockerman said Kirtland’s offense will flow better again as a result, which, in turn, will help the Lady Broncos regain their confidence come playoff time.

KC hopes the state tournament will be that new beginning, the time when its offense reignites.

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