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Veteran-heavy Scorpions looking to make waves this season on basketball court


FARMINGTON − Head coach Larry-Don Chitty has enjoyed seeing the success achieved this season by the Farmington High School football team.

Competing for the first time in Class 6A, the Scorpions football team reached the state playoffs, winning a first round game at home over Carlsbad before being eliminated by one of the top teams in the state on the road last weekend at La Cueva.

Chitty, who's entering this season with high hopes for the Farmington boys basketball team, is hoping the success from some of the top crossover athletes will translate into success on the court.

"It was amazing to watch kids like Trel Griego and Jevon Smith do what they did this season," Chitty said. "(Griego) really was fun to watch on the field and I think he really stepped up his competitiveness all around."

Griego and Smith are both expected to be on the opening night roster for the boys basketball season, which opens with a home game on Friday night against Los Lunas. Chitty is looking forward to seeing what returning starters like junior Cody Vassar-Steen and Caden Granger will contribute to the team.

Vassar-Steen led all scorers on the Scorpions last season, averaging more than 12 points and five rebounds per game, while Granger and sophomore Landon Begay will be looking to continue their progressions in this upcoming season.

"Vassar-Steen has really assumed that leadership role of being a team captain for us," Chitty said. "He's been a good leader for the younger players and I think that has translated well."

The Scorpions finished last season with a record of 20-9 last season, reaching the Class 5A state tournament before being eliminated 80-66 by Hobbs in the opening round.

"The way we finished the season left a sour taste," Chitty said. "We got off to a fast start in the game but just couldn't match up with them down the stretch. Overall though, I thought we took some big steps last season and I think we're going to get better."

Chitty believes the achievements of the football team will translate well for the upcoming basketball season.

"Having that kind of success, especially in a new district and new classification can be really important," Chitty said. "The football team really achieved a lot and we're real excited to see the football players keep that competitive spirit."

Griego, who finished the Scorpions football season as one of the leading quarterbacks in the state, will be looked upon to contribute even more on the basketball court.

"He had such a great season, and the way he handled all the physicality of the game makes me excited to see what he can do in those situations during the basketball season," Chitty said. "We have to work a little bit of that physicality out, but the way he plays and the command he showed during the season gives me reason to think he'll have that same intensity on the court."

The Scorpions will have an ambitious non-district campaign before opening play next winter against the likes of District 2-5A rivals like La Cueva, Sandia, West Mesa and Eldorado, all of whom reached the state tournament last season. After the opening game against Los Lunas, Farmington will once again host the Marv Sanders Invitational and will also square off against the likes of Bernalillo and Monument Valley, Ariz., who went 20-8 last season before being eliminated in the Class 3A state playoffs.

For a complete look at the Farmington High School boys basketball team, check out their official page on MaxPreps.com.