KIRTLAND — A short-handed Kirtland Central Lady Broncos team couldn't keep up with Miyamura.
The Lady Broncos (5-11) fell at home to the Miyamura Lady Patriots 38-26 at Broncos Arena on Thursday night.
Kirtland Central led 5-4 after one quarter and trailed just 13-12 at halftime against the Lady Patriots (9-4). But the Lady Broncos shot 0-for-11 from the field in the third quarter to allow Miyamura to build a 27-14 lead.
"The third quarter absolutely killed us. We came out flat. We had opportunities, but we couldn't put the ball in the hole," said Kirtland Central assistant coach Rochelle Curry.
In contrast, Miyamura shot 5-of-9 from the field in the third quarter. Presleigh Smiley led the Lady Patriots with a game-high 15 points. Raquel Spencer scored another 11 points in the win, including seven in the third quarter.
Miyamura's press defense helped cause 25 Kirtland Central turnovers in the game.
"All year we have been working on our press. I don't know where we would be this year if we didn't have that," said Miyamura head coach Mark Troncoso. "We got turnovers that led to transition points and the shots we wanted. We really stepped up our press in that second half."
Kirtland Central tried to chip into the Miyamura lead in the fourth quarter, cutting it to just six points with 2 minutes and 30 seconds to play. But Miyamura finished the game strong and made 3-of-4 free-throw attempts late in the game to solidify the win.
The Lady Broncos were without senior captain Keeshawna Ockerman, who was out with an illness.
"We absolutely missed her," Curry said. "Bringing down the ball, we had to put kids who weren't as comfortable handling it. But, we would rather her be well and to get better for the big games down the road."
Kirtland Central was led by Krystal Sheka's six points, all of which came in the fourth quarter. Megan Silversmith scored five for the Lady Broncos.
Troncoso though Kirtland Central did a decent job of controlling Smiley throughout the game.
"I have to give it to Kirtland. I know they are getting stronger and stronger as they go into the season," he said. "They kind of held (Smiley). They had a good game against us."
Miyamura's win completed the team's season sweep of all four District 1-4A opponents. Troncoso, who is in his second year leading the Miyamura program, said he expects more big things to come for his team.
"We are really having success at the junior varsity and C-team levels. We are excited for next year, but not quite yet," he said. "This year's team has something to prove. We are small, but we are also quick. I think we can do a lot of things if we just come together and play as a team."
Kirtland Central has a short turnaround time for today's road game at Santa Fe Indian School.
"We are always looking to build on what we need to build on before district," Curry said. "Hopefully, we can go on the road and get a win."
Gallup 60, Piedra Vista 49
Even in a loss, the Piedra Vista Lady Panthers showed improvement and had head coach Joe Reed feeling like his team has what it takes to win a district title.
Piedra Vista (9-7) fell on the road at the Gallup Lady Bengals 60-49. Gallup is now 11-3 this season.
"It was closer than the final score indicates. It was a seven-point game with four minutes left, and we had the ball. The calls didn't go our way, but the girls battled and played hard," Reed said. "Gallup is a team that just beat No. 1-ranked St. Pius by 30 points. I think we showed improvement and that we are ready to play with the big boys."
Kaleigh Graham led PV with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Precious Frank scored nine more points in the loss.
Reed was pleased with his team's stellar free-throw shooting in the game. The Lady Panthers finished 20-of-22 at the line.
"We couldn't ask for more," he said.
PV trailed 15-12 after one quarter and 33-20 at halftime.
The Lady Panthers are back on the road again Saturday at Santa Fe Indian School.
Navajo Prep 51, Crownpoint 49
The Navajo Prep Eagles earned a big District 1-2A win on Thursday night.
Coming off a close loss on the road at Rehoboth to open the district schedule, the Eagles took down Crownpoint 51-49.
Navajo Prep (7-7, 1-1 District 1-2A) held a decent lead throughout the game, but Crownpoint kept chipping away. Leading by two points late in the fourth quarter, Navajo Prep's David Wauneka was fouled and hit two key free throws to help ice the game for the Eagles.
"The win definitely gives us a little boost," said Prep head coach Dustin Moore. "We wanted to come into district and make a name for ourselves right away. After a close Rehoboth game and now this, we feel like we can compete with anybody."
Isaiah Yazzie led the Eagles with 15 points, 11 of which came in the first half. Trevor Martin scored another 10 points in the win.
Prep is back in action this Saturday at home against Zuni.John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.