Kirtland falls in title game to Los Lunas

Matthew Asher, Carlsbad Current-Argus
Kirtland Central's Tatelyn Manheimer deflects the ball for a steal against Los Lunas' Jaidyn Schollander during Friday's 4A state championship game at Dreamstyle Arena in Albuquerque.

ALBUQUERQUE – The Kirtland Central Lady Broncos were unable to pull off another fourth quarter comeback against Los Lunas in the Class 4A girls championship game tonight. After a rough second and third quarter for Kirtland, Los Lunas was able to capitalize and came away with a 49-43 victory.

How it happened

It was simply a rough night for Kirtland because the offense could never get in a rhythm. 

Kirtland (27-4) led 12-10 after one quarter, but Los Lunas (28-3) outscored the Lady Broncos 28-16 in the second and third quarters to pull away with the win. Kirtland committed 19 turnovers that Los Lunas was able to convert into nine points. The Lady Broncos shot 38 percent from the field (16-for-42) and were 7-for-10 from the free throw line.

The 3-ball was equally unkind to Kirkland. The Lady Broncos were just 4-for-18 (22 percent) from distance in the game and 1-for-9 in the second half.

They said it

"We picked the wrong game to not have a good shooting game. As bad as we shot it, we were still in it. It just came down to we didn't make enough plays. People are going to look back at the fourth quarter but we missed a lot of easy looks in the first half, too.

"Give Los Lunas credit. They made us work. I thought we made them work, too. What it all came down to they just made a few more plays than we did. I thought we were pretty evenly matched. We let them get away from us and we could never narrow that gap."

– Devon Manning, Kirtland Central head coach

Kirtland Central's Avery Begay looks to get a defensive stop against Los Lunas' Marissa Weldon during Friday's 4A state championship game at Dreamstyle Arena in Albuquerque.

Stat leaders

Kirtland was led by Aubrey Thomas who had nine points and two rebounds. Siigrid Lii'bilanghahi had seven points and six rebounds. Tiahijae Nez had six points.

Los Lunas was led by Mia Guest who finished with 15 points. Natalie Jojola scored 12 points for the Lady Tigers and added five rebounds.

Game notes:

Fourth quarter

Game over. Los Lunas wins 49-43

Siigrid Lii'bilanghaghi gets a jumper and Kirtland has to foul Los Lunas with 2.8 seconds. 

Kirtland gets another layup and trails 46-41 with 20 seconds. Broncos foul Mia Guest who drains both free throws. 17 seconds left. 

A jumper by Mia Guest pulls Kirtland to within 7 points. Los Lunas 45, Kirtland 38 with 1:04 left.

Los Lunas does a good job of playing keepaway. 75 seconds left and the Lady Tigers lead 45-36. Kirtland had a fastbreak chance but opted to shoot a corner-3 that fell short.

Kirtland cuts the lead after free throws by Melanie Yazzie. Los Lunas leads 43-36 with 3:16 left.

Los Lunas ends its drought with a 4-0 run with 4:19 left. Lady Tigers lead 42-32.

Kirtland cuts into the lead with a 4-0 run. 5:50 left and Los Lunas leads, 38-32.

Third quarter

End of the quarter and Los Lunas now leads, 38-28.

Kirtland finally gets a basket to cut the Los Lunas lead, 33-24 with 3 minutes left.

The lead continues to grow for the Lady Tigers, now lead 33-22 with 4:20 left.

Los Lunas goes on a run and now leads 31-22 with 5 minutes left.

Halftime stats:

Los Lunas has 15 bench points, 8 in the pain and 5 points off fastbreaks. Lady Tigers are shooting 69 percent from the floor (9-for-13) and a perfect 2-for-2 from the free throw line.

Kirtland Central has 12 points from its bench, 8 points in the paint and no fastbreak points. The Lady Broncos shot 32 percent (7-for-22) from the field and 3-for-4 from distance.

Tiajae Nez leads Kirtland with 6 points and 2 rebounds. Jaymie Smart has 5 points. Aisha Ramone has 4 points, 2 assists. Aubrey Thomas has 3 and Melanie Yazzie has 2 points.

Los Lunas is led by Natalie Jojola's 9 points. Mia Guest has 6. Feleena Candelaria has 4 points. Marissa Weldon, Jaidyn Schollander and Kylee Trujillo all have 2 points.

Second quarter

Los Lunas adds to its lead in the final minute and heads into halftime up 25-20.

Los Lunas takes a 23-20 lead with 2:03 left.

Tied at 20 with 3:15.