KC coasts in win over upstart Miyamura

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

ALBUQUERQUE, March 8, 2012

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(Special to the Times - Donovan Quintero)

Kirtland Central Lady Bronco Tessa Begay (20) prepares to shoot as Lady Patriot Aubrey Orr (13) guards her Tuesday at the UNM Pit. Miyamura lost, 60-50.

Lady Patriots Nicole Money (45) shoots as Lady Bronco Raquel Woody (23) defends Tuesday night at the UNM Pit in Albuquerque. Kirtland defeated Miyamura, 60-50.

F or better or worse, it's hard to compete against tradition.

That was the lesson learned on Tuesday night as the Kirtland Central girls' basketball team showed Miyamura why they have reached the state finals 29 times in the last 33 years.

In their quarterfinal showdown, the Lady Broncos built an early 30-9 cushion before moving into the next round with a 60-50 victory inside the famous UNM Pit this weekend.

The Broncos will play top-seeded Grants in a much-anticipated rematch on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. at the Pit.

"If you look at Kirtland Central, they have a lot of tradition and they probably make their hotel reservations in August for the state tournament," said Miyamura coach Marty Alderete. "Every year they pretty much guarantee themselves a shot at competing for a state championship, but as a new program we finally got to that next level.

"My kids now know what it takes because we got to experience that tonight," he added. "And maybe we can start to work together at getting better and who knows maybe we'll be playing into those Thursday and Friday games like they do."

It's still up for debate whether the Broncos will capture their 20th state crown this year, but at the start of Tuesday's contest it looked like they were destined to do just that.

The Broncos simply dictated the pace of the game with their stingy defense and forced Miyamura into 9 early turnovers.

"I was hoping it wouldn't happen," Alderete said about being rattled at the beginning. "We knew they would do some half-court trap and in the tapes we saw they basically pressed everyone, but we shot ourselves in the foot."

Those turnovers helped fuel a 14-0 run with sisters Kalen and Taylor Henderson doing the most damage. Kalen scored eight of those points in that rally while Taylor hit a couple of layups for a 23-4 advantage.

The Broncos later settled for a 27-9 edge heading into the second.

"The first quarter was great," Kirtland Central coach Kevin Holman said. "We've had quarters like that a few times this year and we are hoping to have that kind of start on Thursday."

But in the next quarter, the Broncos managed only 7 points while Miyamura got 8 points from junior guard Danielle Chee with two coming from beyond the arc. Junior Nicole Money added two inside buckets that cut KC's lead down to 34-21 at the break.

"We let them back in," Holman said. "Anytime a team can go on a run like Miyamura did, they tend to build a little confidence coming out of that locker room."

Nonetheless, Kirtland Central responded by pushing their lead to 51-31 on a 3 by Kalen with 32 seconds left in the third quarter.

The game, however, took on another complexion as Miyamura closed out the quarter on a 4-0 run, including a buzzer beater from Courtney Torrez.

The Patriots then hit two early treys to start the fourth and the underdogs were within reach, 54-43, with more than six minutes to play.

"Once we broke their traps we ran some offensive sets and we got some good looks and we made some big shots," Alderete said.

For the next four minutes, the Patriots had a chance to cut the lead even further, but they missed on six straight shots including two that rimmed out from beyond the perimeter.

"It was probably good that we had that lead but we did get ourselves out of rhythm," said KC guard Darla Woody, who finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. "We were the better team but Miyamura played a little harder than we did late in the game."

Woody said she's looking forward to Thursday's rematch with Grants, but at the same time she's hoping that they can play a complete game.

"We don't want to lose," she said. "I'm sure they don't want to lose because we both want to make the state championship game so I whoever play their hearts out will win the game."

In Tuesday's game, the Broncos also had two other players in double figures headed by Taylor Henderson's 17 points. Kalen came in next with 13 markers, which included three treys.

For Miyamura, Chee led the way with a game-best 23 points. Nicole Money added 15.

"This hurts and we're going to feel it for awhile," Alderete said. "But tomorrow we'll look in the mirror and we'll be proud of where this program is headed because we could have put our heads down and quit, but we didn't. I am proud of that, really proud of that."

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