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KC girls, Gallup boy win tiebreaker game, earn district’s top seed

KC girls, Gallup boy win tiebreaker game, earn district’s top seed

By Santiago Ramos Jr.
Special to the Times

FARMINGTON – A pair of Monday night tiebreakers played at two Farmington high schools determined the No. 1 seeds in 4A girls and boys basketball, respectively.

In the girls’ tiebreaker game played at Farmington High School, the No. 1-ranked Kirtland Central Lady Broncos (23-3) led almost from the start in turning back Gallup (20-7), 60-44, to earn the No. 1 seed.

In the boys’ tiebreaker played at Piedra Vista High School, Gallup’s boys squad rallied in the fourth quarter to top the Shiprock Chieftains, 76-73, to grab the boys’ top seed.

Kirtland Central 60,
Gallup 44

It was all Kirtland Central as the Lady Broncos cruised past district rival Gallup, 60-44, in its tiebreaker game.

Kirtland Central outscored Gallup 20 to 7 in the opening quarter and nursed its lead to 33-17 at the half. The Lady Broncos enjoyed a 49-32 third-quarter cushion before cruising to an easy 16-point conquest.

“We did a lot better tonight,” said Kirtland Central head coach Devon Manning, referring to a one-point road loss to Gallup last week. “Offensively we did a very good job whether it was in the press or half-court offense. We rebounded well overall. The girls played hard. Sometimes we were playing way too fast because Gallup is capable of going on runs. I told the girls we just need to stay focused for 32 minutes.”

The Lady Broncos had three players finish in double digits with sophomore Haylee Nocki and senior Amber Shorty each finishing with 15 points. Nicki had two treys and Shorty was deadly with four threes. Senior Emilia Clani added 11 points with three treys.

KC girls, Gallup boy win tiebreaker game, earn district’s top seed

Special to the Times | Lee Begaye
Kirtland Central sophomore Krista Tsingine-Yazzie (left) and Gallup senior Ashlee Duboise (right) jockey for a loose ball in the District 1-4A tiebreaker game on Monday night at Farmington High.

Gallup head coach Todd McBroom, whose team slipped to 20-7, said that turnovers and foul trouble were key.

“We have to take care of the ball,” McBroom said. “We got into some foul trouble and that hurt us.”

Kirtland Central held Gallup’s top scorer, junior center Rylie Whitehair, who fouled out, to just six points. Junior guard Ashley Slinkey was the lone Gallup player in double digits with 16 points with four treys.

Kirtland Central and Gallup finished tied for the top spot in the district standings with 9-1 records. The Lady Broncos stormed to a lopsided 78-45 win in their first meeting at home earlier this season while the Lady Bengals eked out last week’s 57-56 win at their home to force Monday’s tiebreaker game.

Kirtland Central hosted Aztec (14-13) while Gallup entertained Bloomfield (18-8) Wednesday night.

The winners of Wednesday’s semifinals will meet Friday night in the district tournament finals at 6 p.m. with the higher-seeded team hosting.

Gallup 76,
Shiprock 73

The 13-12 Bengals, who have won seven of their last nine district ballgames, bolted out to a commanding 27-14 first quarter lead over the Chieftains (16-11). But Shiprock battled back in the second quarter to pull to within 40-34 at the half. In the third quarter the Chieftains overtook the Bengals and led by three, 58-55, entering the fourth quarter.

Late in the fourth quarter Shiprock led for the final time, 73-71, on a basket by senior guard Nevaughn Begay.

Gallup responded and tied the score at 73-73 when sophomore forward Kelton Edison scored. Edison came back and added the go-ahead basket with less than two minutes remaining. Edison, who tallied the final five points for the Bengals, was fouled with less than a minute left and sank the second of two free throws to secure the huge Bengal win, 76-73.

Bengal sophomore guard Jayson Brunner poured in 33 points to lead all scorers. Twenty-two of Brunner’s points came in the first half.

“We kept things simple,” Bengal first-year head coach Mark Teel said. “Shiprock added a new wrinkle and played a flex cut offense. They got easy baskets. They don’t go down easy. We had a game plan but at times we lost focus. It was a game of runs. Luckily we had the last run. But Shiprock – that’s a good team. Coach (Larenson) Henderson is a classy guy.”

Teel said that his “Cardiac Kids” are still living up to their nickname.

“I’ve called them “The Cardiac Kids” all season long,” Teel said. “But they’re just maturing. Some of them had not played varsity ball. Now they’re getting used to it. The fundamentals are kicking in. We’re not throwing the ball away. But our defense still needs a lot of work.”

Shiprock freshman guard Ashton Keith buried five treys in a row.

The two teams split during the district campaign with Shiprock stealing a 71-62 district win at Gallup, which was missing two players in Edison and senior point guard Tavern Joe. With Edison and Joe back in the lineup, the Bengals steamrolled over the Chieftains 93-60 in their second meeting. Dating back to 2020, Gallup has beaten Shiprock nine of their last 11 meetings.

Gallup will host Kirtland Central (12-14) tonight, while Shiprock will entertain Bloomfield (13-14) in the district semifinals. Gallup and Kirtland Central split their district games and Shiprock and Bloomfield also went 1-and-1.

The winners of Thursday’s semis will meet in Saturday’s district tournament finals at the higher seeded team at 6 p.m.


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