Behind 26 points from senior Hayden Farmer and 22 from classmate Turner Kennedy, the Bayfield boys managed to wipe out a 10-point second-quarter deficit and gradually build a lead as large as nine during the fourth quarter to defeat Kirtland Central 73-68 Tuesday night inside BHS Gymnasium.
"It was good to win at home," said hoarsened head coach Klint Chandler. "Turned the ball over way too much, and we've got to work on our defense."
With senior Jordan Heslop and junior Brock Dowdy knifing at will through Bayfiel's defense during the first quarter, the Broncos threatened to run roughshod all over the flat-footed Wolverines.
"First quarter, we were just letting them penetrate - we let them penetrate all game, really - and our defense wasn't that great," Farmer said. "But offensively we took care of the ball - still too many turnovers, but we just kept grinding the game out."
And with senior center Matt McSweeney able to work inside for four points, junior forward Ethan Morris stepping out to bury a three-pointer, and Kennedy rattling in a straight-away trey at the buzzer, BHS (2-1, 0-0 3A Intermountain) went into the second quarter down by just a bucket, 19-17.
Heslop, Dowdy, Tyler Jenks, Terrell Lee and sophomore reserve Cameron Crawford each scored quick baskets, helping KCHS (0-2, 0-0 NMAA Dist. 1-4A) regain all their early momentum and then some. That gave Kirtland a 29-19 advantage before BHS again composed themselves and rallied behind four points from Kennedy and nine from Farmer, whose four late free throws gave the home team a 32-29 halftime lead.
Wolverine junior guard James Mottin then clanged home a three beginning the third quarter. Kirtland Central found a spark in the form of sophomore post Troy White-David, who scored five points in the frame, but Bayfield's lead grew to 47-38, with Farmer totaling 10 points and senior Keegan Owens coming off Chandler's bench to knock down a clutch three.
"We were pretty stagnant in the first half with our offense; we weren't moving the basketball," Chandler said. "Thought we had a little better ball movement in the second half, when we finally pulled ahead a little."
Added Farmer: "Missed shots and stuff, but we just kept grinding and sooner or later the shots were going to fall. We keep the ball moving, and it's going to give our offense a better chance."
The Broncos managed to approach as close as 49-44 going into the fourth quarter, but Kennedy swished a three with 6:29 left, putting the Wolverines up 56-47, and Morris offset a Dowdy triple with one of his own, preserving the nine-point lead at 59-50.
Crawford keyed a 10-4 KCHS run capped by a Jenks three-point play, but the guests got no closer than 63-60 as BHS managed to create enough separation at the charity stripe. Farmer went 4-of-4 on freethrows (he finished 9-of-11) and Kennedy 2-of-4 (he finished 6-of-13) in the penultimate 25 seconds.
Morris and Mottin each netted seven points for Bayfield, while McSweeney registered eight.
"We've got to clean up our defense," Chandler said. "And offense, we've just got to keep moving the basketball. We're getting better each game, so that's the good thing."
Up next, the Wolverines will travel to the Buena Vista Demon Invitational, Dec. 7-8, where they will face Salida (0-2) on Day 1 at 5:30 p.m., and Granby Middle Park on Day 2 at 10 a.m. Middle Park (0-1) will clash with Parachute Grand Valley (1-2) on Day 1.
"We've got to learn to travel for State and getting ready for that, so traveling is good for us," said Farmer, alluding to BHS' 1-1 showing at Englewood Kent Denver's season-opening Herman Schayes Memorial last weekend. "Got to be able to get off the bus and go play our best game. We're excited."