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‘4th quarter’ mantra leads to KC winning No. 1 seed


In order to win the regular district season, the Kirtland Central boys’ basketball team needed some humble pie.

Special to the Times | Ray Landry
Kirtland Central’s Jariah Setzer (10) shoots against Gallup defenders Quincy Smith (20) and Joaquin Ortega (30) during a conference game in Shiprock on Feb. 19.

The Broncos were having a decent season until the Bengals in late January rattled the corral. Since then the two have battled back and fourth for the top spot in District 1-5A.

Kirtland Central took the humility Gallup served them and used it to fuel a 52-46 victory over the Bengals for the top seed in the district on Monday.

Kirtland Central head coach Brian Dowdy said his team has had their downs recently, but it was for a reason.

“We struggled a little bit and it was actually good for us,” he said. “We were confident, but I felt like we were starting to get cocky, so I felt like it was good for us to get humbled. It really was.”

Kirtland Central and Gallup were tied at 8-2 at the end of the district season, which prompted the tie-breaker Monday at a neutral site – Shiprock High School.

Gallup took an early lead, setting the pace, and outscored Kirtland Central 15-8 after the first quarter.

The Broncos came stomping back in the second quarter to make a 12-0 run to lead Gallup 20-17.

The Bengals hung on and battled back with about three minutes left in the first half of the game.

Kirtland Central led 26-23 at the half.

Dowdy said it was a rough start for his team, which has been the case most recently.

“The first quarter, we just couldn’t make baskets,” he said. “Our last game at home against them (Gallup), we were 22 percent in the first quarter again, but before that we’ve been starting out wonderfully.

“But maybe that was better for us because we didn’t take anything for granted,” he said. “The first time we lost to them (Gallup), we had the big lead 13-10, 13-5, and then we blew the lead and they beat us.”

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About The Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.


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