Ashley John (33) drives to the basket during Shiprock’s girls basketball game against Fruita Monument, Colo., on Thursday at Kirtland Central High
Ashley John (33) drives to the basket during Shiprock's girls basketball game against Fruita Monument, Colo., on Thursday at Kirtland Central High School. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)
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KIRTLAND — The Shiprock girls basketball team's hot streak continued on Thursday night.

The Lady Chieftains used a 31-4 second-half run to defeat Fruita Monument, Colo., 63-28 in the Webb-Toyota Lady Bronco Invite at Kirtland Central High School.

"We came out and stopped the dribblers," said Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson. "That was the one thing we didn't do (in the first half)."

Fruita Monument (3-8) kept within striking distance during most of the first half as the Lady Chiefs (14-0) took a 32-24 lead into the break.

Following halftime, Shiprock stepped up its defensive pressure, allowing just two field goals while forcing 13 Lady Wildcat turnovers.

Courtney Steele led a balanced Lady Chiefs' offense with 10 points, all in the first half, while six other players scored at least six points.

"The girls did a good job moving the ball, and that's what we're trying to teach them," Henderson said. "If we're aggressive, then it frees up everybody. It's just a matter a knocking down the shots."

All 11 Lady Chiefs who played found their way onto the score sheet in the victory.

The Lady Chiefs hit 10-of-12 at the free-throw line in the win.

Shiprock will face Grants in the semifinals, and Henderson said his team is excited to face some new competition.

"I'm just excited, because we're getting to play a team that could give us a run for our money," he said. "If they're up to their game, then they can be tough, and we always have to be ready. We want to be consistent, and that's one thing we're trying to teach."

Kirtland Central 46, Bloomfield 29

After a tight first quarter, Kirtland Central was able to pull away from Bloomfield in the opening round of the Lady Bronco Invite.

Kirtland Central’s Shamika Benally (33) drives to the basket against Bloomfield on Thursday at Kirtland Central High School.
Kirtland Central's Shamika Benally (33) drives to the basket against Bloomfield on Thursday at Kirtland Central High School. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

The Lady Bobcats (3-7) kept the game close in the opening eight minutes as KCHS opened an 11-8 lead.

In the final three quarters, however, the Lady Broncos (4-9) were able to gradually increase their advantage throughout the contest on their way to the 17-point win.

"We just stayed in good defensive position," said KCHS coach Rochelle Curry. "We were ready for the rebounds and were more patient on offense today, too."

Despite the loss, Bloomfield head coach Tom Adair said he liked the way his team continued to battled for the entire game.

"I thought our girls competed," Adair said. "We're young in a lot of areas. In the first half, it was a good ball game, and we were right there."

Keeshawna Ockerman scored a game-high 16 points in the Lady Broncos' win

"It's a huge confidence boost for her," Curry said. "The team was going to her a lot."

KCHS will face Belen today, while Bloomfield plays Ignacio, Colo., after Belen defeated Ignacio 59-31 in their opening round game.

Bloomfield already matched up with Ignacio once this year, defeating them 42-38 on Dec. 17.

Grants 46, Farmington 34

Grants used a strong second half to emerge with a 12-point victory against Farmington High in the first round of the Lady Bronco Invite.

The Lady Scorpions hung tough in the first half and trailed by just four points 23-19 heading into the locker room, but eventually the Lady Pirates were able to put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter.

"I just thought we were sluggish the whole game. It was like we were stuck in mud," said FHS head coach Danny Secrest. "We just didn't have any enthusiasm, and I hope that changes."

Brighton Clah led FHS (6-8) with 10 points in the loss.

Jami Stverak scored 14 for Grants (7-3) in the win.

The Lady Pirates led throughout the majority of the contest, taking a 16-10 advantage into the second quarter.

FHS had a few opportunities late in the second quarter to take the lead but missed a couple of layups while trailing 20-19.

From there, Grants maintained control over the game.

The Lady Scorps will play against Fruita Monument in the consolation round, while Grants will face Shiprock in the semifinals.

FHS is undefeated against opposition from Colorado this season, and Secrest said he hopes that will give his team confidence going into the matchup.

"We'll take a look at them and see what happens," he said. "I think we'll come out better tomorrow."

Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.