Bloomfield girls get tough road win at Tohatchi
Even with a 14-point advantage Bloomfield coach Tom Adair still had his concerns.
On Monday night, his Lady Bobcats led from start to finish against Tohatchi, and they got that sizeable lead late in the third.
Nonetheless, Adair felt that Tohatchi was never out of the game as his club pulled out a tough 45-37 win.
“I’m just proud of the girls,” he said. “We played with good composure, and this is a tough place to come in and get a win.
“I always know that they could back, so I never felt good about having that (14-point) lead,” he said.
After leading 22-15 at the break, the Bobcats secured seven offensive boards that helped build that margin.
As a result, they hit 4-of-6 free throws to start the third, and with 2:49 left senior Kylie Bigthumb nailed Bloomfield’s second trey that earned the visiting team a 33-19 cushion.
Behind two free throws and a trey by WynterRose Sheka, the Cougars pulled within seven, trailing 33-25 with 6:31 to go.
Tohatchi hit a few more treys, but Bloomfield offset those baskets with a few transition buckets.
“We did well, and I thought the kids showed some really good composure,” Adair said when asked about handling Tohatchi’s press in the first three quarters.
“When we take care of the basketball and do smart things, we’re a very good team,” he added.
Tohatchi coach Tanisha Bitsoi credited the Bloomfield squad for controlling the tempo, but she felt her team could have played better.
“They played hard, and they wanted to win, so hats off to Bloomfield,” she said. “Tonight was one of those game to where I wish the outcome was different. We didn’t play the basketball we’re able to play.
“We got outhustled, and they made more plays than we did. And for some reason this was the worst night that I’ve seen us rebound.”
Early in the contest, Bitsoi lamented on her team’s turnovers as Bloomfield jumped out to a 9-3 lead following a trey by junior Millie Yazzie.
“We had like six turnovers in a row,” she said. “It’s uncharacteristic turnovers. It’s turnovers that I don’t expect them to make.”
In addition to turnovers, the Cougars had difficulty connecting at the basket as it made 13 of 58 shots.
“We couldn’t buy a bucket,” she said. “We were playing north to south instead of east to west for three quarters. We couldn’t get going.”
Following a 6-point effort in the third, the Cougars had its best quarter in the final stanza as it put up 16.
The margin, however, was too much to overcome.
“Our defense started to pick up, and we got some steals,” Bitsoi said. “I just feel like if we came out with that urgency and that energy from the beginning, the outcome would have been different.
“It’s a learning experience for them moving forward,” she said. “We have quite a bit of young players, so this is something for them to learn and move forward from.”
Tohatchi senior Kiana Bia carried the load with 22 points as the Cougars were missing three players, including two starters.
“That makes an impact in what we’re doing, but it’s always the next woman up,” Bitsoi said. “I still feel like we’re heading in the right direction, but, you know, we’re facing some challenges and some adversity right now. It’s just part of our journey.”
For Bloomfield, the Bobcats got balanced scoring with nine players scoring at least two points headed by the nine points turned in by sophomore Danielle Johnson.
Bloomfield also got seven each from Chenoa Toledo and Millie Yazzie.
“I’ve got six seniors, and I’ve got two sophomores that start,” Adair said. “And then I got a freshman that I suited up, so we got a mixture of players.”
The Bobcats are headed to the Hope Christian tournament this week, and it plays West Las Vegas at noon today.
Next week they’ll start District 1-4A play by hosting Shiprock on Tuesday and Aztec on Saturday.
“We know Gallup is very good,” Adair said of the district race. “They’re the returning state champs. They got a great team, and they’re No. 1.”
The Bloomfield coach said Kirtland Central and Miyamura girls are also in the mix for a top finish.
“Kirtland is ranked four or five, so they’re going to be tough,” he said. “Miyamura is good, and they have a really good coach. We played them in the Roswell Goddard tournament, and they beat us 29-26.”
Tohatchi is set to start District 1-3A play on Friday at Crownpoint before hosting Thoreau on Saturday.
“I am pretty happy with our pre-district schedule,” Bitsoi said as her team fell to 8-5 overall. “I feel like it’s going to help us. We have a really tough district with us, Prep, Thoreau, Crownpoint and Zuni in the top 10.
“I’m optimistic and I believe in this group,” she added. “I’m confident in our abilities, so we’re going to move past this.”