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Lady Scorpions roll past Kirtland Central in early season showdown

KIRTLAND − The Anitielu sisters, Kapiolani, Kjani and Kamalani, led the Farmington High School girls basketball team to a convincing win on the road Tuesday night over Kirtland Central, handing the Lady Broncos their first loss of the season.

Meantime, the Farmington High boys team rolled at home Tuesday night, putting away Shiprock as the Scorpions prepare for tournament play later this week.

Here's a recap of prep basketball games from Tuesday night.

Girls Basketball

FARMINGTON 52, Kirtland Central 43

Junior Kapiolani Anitielu and freshman Kjani Anitielu combined for 26 points Tuesday night as the Farmington High girls basketball team ended Kirtland Central's perfect season with a 52-43 win in front of nearly 3,000 fans at Bronco Arena.

The Anitielu sisters led the offensive attack for the Lady Scorpions, who improved to 11-1 on the season with the win. Farmington led from start to finish in the game, extending a 23-13 lead at halftime to a 22-point margin at the end of the third quarter. Senior Kamalani Anitielu scored 12 points.

Farmington mixed up their defensive alignments much of the game, taking away Kirtland Central's ability to earn scoring opportunities off rebounds. They pressed the Lady Broncos throughout much of the first half and particularly in the third quarter, when Farmington outscored Kirtland 21-9.

"Our defense was the key tonight," said Lady Scorpions head coach Tom Adair. "We blocked out really well while trying to switch things up a bit to keep them off balance."

Kirtland Central turned the ball over several times in the first half, taking away some scoring opportunities as the Lady Broncos appeared out of sorts playing from behind for much of the night.

The loss is the first of the season for the Lady Broncos, who came into the contest with a 13-0 record. The loss snaps a 24-game winning streak which dated back to last season, when the team captured a Class 4A state title. The 44 points scored in the game matches their season low, when they beat Dixie (Utah) in a tournament game earlier this season in Page, Arizona.

The highly anticipated contest between two of the top teams in the state generated huge interest across the county, with Bronco Arena reaching capacity for the first time in nearly three years.

The Lady Scorpions will be on the road Thursday night when they visit Tohatchi before playing at Scorpion Arena on Saturday at 2:30 when they host Shiprock.

The Lady Broncos will also be on the road on Saturday when they square off with Tohatchi.

PIEDRA VISTA 43, Los Lunas 41

The Piedra Vista High School girls basketball team picked up their second straight win Tuesday night, prevailing 43-41 on the road over Los Lunas.

The Lady Panthers, coming off a 1-2 stand last weekend in tournament action in the Hobbs Holiday Classic, improved their overall record on the season to 6-8 as they prepare for a Thursday night game on the road against Capital.

Boys Basketball

FARMINGTON 87, Shiprock 58

Standout performances from Cody Vassar-Steen and Hayden Begay led the Farmington High boys basketball team to a runaway 87-58 win Tuesday night at Scorpion Arena.

Vassar-Steen led the Scorpions with 23 points while Begay scored 21 on the night, including six shots from behind the 3-point line to give Farmington their second straight win. Trel Griego had a big night on the boards, pulling down a dozen rebounds.

"A great game for our guys tonight," said Farmington head coach Larry-Don Chitty. "I loved the tempo which we played at. We had great shooting from (Vassar-Steen) and (Begay), but our rebounding really helped us finish up strong."

The win improves Farmington's record to 7-5 on the season as they prepare for tournament action this week in Gallup, with a Thursday afternoon game against Sandia Prep.

Shiprock falls to 2-7 on the season and will be on the road Thursday night when they face Newcomb.