Facing one of the premier programs in New Mexico, the Montezuma-Cortez Lady Panthers learned a tough lesson about ball control in a 66-22 loss against Bloomfield.
The visiting Bobcats pressured the Panthers (2-3) all over the floor, forcing numerous turnovers and creating a hole from which the hosts couldn’t recover.
An early basket by freshman Paige Yarbrough cut the deficit to 6-2 and appeared to settle M-CHS into the contest.
Instead, it triggered a Bloomfield avalanche. The Bobcats (6-1) rattled off 25 unanswered points extending over a span of close to eight minutes and threatened to run away with the contest before halftime. A trapping press kept the hosts on their heels as the Bobcats gave the Panthers fits just trying to cross the timeline.
The Panthers did manage a modest 8-0 run, thanks in part to more tenacious defense. Freshman Devon McHenry tallied four points as part of the Cortez burst. For the better part of the second quarter, the Panthers played evenly with Bloomfield, but still faced a 34-10 gap at the break.
In the second half, M-CHS continued to battle through the Bobcat pressure, even creating a couple of highlight plays of their own. Crisp passing broke the press, leading to a Presley Frost lay-in midway through the third quarter.
In the end though, Bloomfield demonstrated why they will likely be a title contender in this year’s New Mexico state playoffs. The Bobcats kept up their offensive efficiency as they eased away from Cortez.
Frost led the way for the Panthers for the third consecutive outing, posting six points. McHenry and sophomore Dimery Plewe each added four points.
Sierra Ortiz paced Bloomfield’s scoring attack with 14 points, with Halle Payne also finishing in double figures with 13 tallies.
The Panthers head north to participate in the Basalt High School tournament for a pair of contests before the holiday break.