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BLOOMFIELD — Bloomfield is restoring its image as a serious player in the district title and state basketball playoff conversations, something that's been missing for many, many months.

The Lady Bobcats won their first three district games, and their signature wins so far are against 4A powers Goddard and Gallup. That's a giant step for a team that's been on quite a rocky journey.

Younger and less experienced players were thrown into the fire in late 2018, a time of significant change in the months immediately following the Lady Bobcats’ first state finals appearance in 34 years.

""We were really new, so we were just trying to get into the movement and the speed of varsity," point guard Madison Bedonie said.

Players like Bedonie, plus guards Lanay Gutierrez and Adriana Stevenson, had to acclimate to greater varsity roles and help fill voids left by Brandi Alcantar, Sierra Ortiz and Alyssa Quintana, among others. Halle Payne was the only returning starter.

Players like Bedonie, Gutierrez and Stevenson endured the grind — including the tough losses — that a full season entails, and they learned how to handle it.

And now that same group, which missed the playoffs last year, is helping spearhead a postseason push right now.

They also understand that wins over foes like Goddard and Gallup were necessary for their playoff resume.

"Yes, the wins are great against some of those lower teams, but that's not the games we look for. (Beating Goddard and Gallup) shows good progress," Gutierrez said.

Tallying such victories are enough for the Lady Bobcats to begin envisioning taking the hardwood come March.

"We were hoping to finally get some type of run," Bedonie said. "I know that we have the talent. We have the dedication and the grind to go outwork a good team and actually beat someone like (Goddard and Gallup)."

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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