Local hoops teams prepare for important district campaigns
FARMINGTON − As the all-important district basketball schedule looms in the distance, local and area prep teams are hoping to get into winning form as they head towards a potential berth in regional and state tournaments, set to begin late next month.
Here's a look at how high school basketball teams fared this earlier this week.
FARMINGTON 68, Miyamura 21
The trio of Anitielu sisters combined for 37 points on Monday night as the Farmington High School girls basketball team prepares to wind down their non-district schedule with a 68-21 win at home against Miyamura.
Junior Kapiolani Anitielu led all scorers on the night with 17 points, while freshman Kjani Anitielu scored 11 and senior Kamalani Anitielu scored nine points to pace the victory. Tinaya Parrish scored eight points as the team had 10 players make the scorebook.
Farmington (14-1) will play one final game of their non-district schedule, on the road at Volcano Vista on Thursday night before opening their District 2-5A schedule at home on Tuesday night. The Lady Hawks handed the Lady Scorpions their only loss this season when they met in the second round of a tournament last month.
The district schedule will open with Sandia, with an overall record of 11-2 on the season. The team is coming off a 66-57 loss last weekend in tournament action against Hobbs.
TOHATCHI 47, Piedra Vista 27
The Tohatchi High School girls basketball team wrapped up their non-district schedule on Monday night, beating Piedra Vista on the road by a final of 47-27 inside the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse at Piedra Vista High School.
The Lady Cougars (8-6) will open up play in District 1-3A on Friday night at home against Crownpoint, while the Lady Panthers (6-10) overall will open their District 2-5A campaign next week when they host Eldorado on Tuesday night.
DURANGO 43, Bloomfield 41
The Bloomfield High School girls basketball team saw their four-game win streak come to an end Tuesday night, losing a heartbreaker at home 43-41 to Durango.
The Lady Bobcats, coming off a tournament championship last weekend in winning the Cuba Lady Invitational, came up a bit short in the final minutes of the contest as they head into the final weekend of non-district games of the season.
Bloomfield will wrap up the non-district portion of their schedule as they head into tournament play on Thursday against St. Pius.
The District 1-4A season will open on Thursday, Jan. 19, when the Lady Bobcats visit Gallup.
NAVAJO PREP 49, Zuni 36
The District 1-3A season got underway Monday night for the Navajo Prep girls basketball team, which outscored Zuni 26-17 in the second half on their way to a 49-36 win on the road over the Lady Thunderbirds.
Navajo Prep, district champions in three of the last four seasons and state champions in Class 3A in both 2020 and 2021, were playing in their first game of 2023 in the district opener. The Lady Eagles hadn't played since losing at the Eagles Nest to defending Class 4A state champion Kirtland Central on Dec. 20.
Navajo Prep (9-3) has won three of their last four games and will be back in action against non-district rival Laguna-Acoma on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in tournament competition.
KIRTLAND CENTRAL 58, Espanola Valley 41
Satchel Hogue scored 19 points as the Kirtland Central High School boys basketball team pulled clear in the second quarter to beat Espanola Valley 58-41 Tuesday night at Bronco Arena.
Though the Broncos got off to a bit of a slow start in the contest, Hogue and Andres Melendez, who scored 12 points, helped pace the offense to a 29-17 lead at the end of the first half.
It's the first win in the last seven games for the Broncos over the Sundevils. Espanola Valley had beaten Kirtland Central in six straight contests dating back to 2012.
"My Achilles' is finally healed," said Kirtland Central head coach Brian Dowdy.
The Broncos (9-6) will finish off the non-district portion of their schedule at home on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Thoreau. The District 1-4A campaign gets underway for Kirtland Central on Tuesday when they visit Miyamura.
FARMINGTON 71, Miyamura 38
Cody Vassar-Steen scored 18 points as the Farmington High School boys basketball team won their sixth straight game, rolling over Miyamura on the road Tuesday night by a final of 71-38.
The Scorpions, coming off their second consecutive Gallup Invitational tournament championship last weekend, also got a big night from Caden Granger, who scored 11 points.
"It looks like we picked up right where we left off from the Gallup tournament," said Farmington head coach Larry-Don Chitty.
The timing of the Scorpions (11-5) current win streak couldn't be better with the team having nearly a week to prepare for the first game of the District 2-5A season, which will be played on the road at Sandia on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"We're excited to have a week to get healthy and hopefully have everyone ready for the first game of district," Chitty said. "We're going to have to be better than we've been to hang with those guys."
NAVAJO PREP 67, Tohatchi 45
The Navajo Prep boys basketball team opened their District 1-3A season on the road Tuesday night, rolling past Tohatchi by a final of 67-45.
Xavier Nez and Jude Thomas both had big scoring nights for the Eagles, winners in three of their last four games and in search of their fourth straight District 1-3A title.
Nez scored 18 points, while Thomas scored 16 in the win. The Eagles went into the locker room with a 35-13 lead at halftime.
Navajo Prep (12-2, 1-0 District) entered this week as the second-ranked Class 3A team in the state behind Robertson. The Eagles will be home on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to face Zuni.
BLOOMFIELD 40, Durango 39
The Bloomfield High School boys basketball team extended their current win streak to five in a row after a hard-fought, narrow 40-39 win Tuesday night on the road against Durango.
The Bobcats, winners last weekend at the Cuba Invitational, continue to earn victories as they enter the final weekend of the non-district campaign.
With an overall record of 9-4 this season, the Bobcats will face Artesia on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in tournament action before opening the District 1-4A season on Tuesday at home against Gallup.
POJOAQUE VALLEY 95, Aztec 63
Senior Derek Sanchez led the Pojoaque Valley High School boys basketball team with 53 points on Tuesday night as the Elks rolled to a 95-63 win on the road over Aztec at Lillywhite Gym.
Sanchez, who came into the contest averaging more than 22 points per game this season, led Pojoaque Valley (12-3) to a convincing road win as both teams prepare to wrap up the non-district portion of their schedule.
For Aztec (3-11), scoring points has not been a problem this season. They've averaged more than 60 points per game this season, but have allowed an average of nearly 70 points per game at the same time.
The Tigers will finish their non-district campaign with games on back-to-back nights this week, beginning Friday on the road at Los Alamos before a home game Saturday night against Piedra Vista.
Their District 1-4A schedule will begin Tuesday night at home against Shiprock.
BAYFIELD 56, Shiprock 54
The Bayfield High School boys basketball team earned their fifth straight win on Monday night, going on the road and slipping past Shiprock by a final of 56-54.
After opening the season with three straight losses, Bayfield has now won five straight and improved to 5-3 overall. Bayfield was led by seniors Jackson Queen with 22 points as well as senior Lance Mazur's 20 points.
The Chieftains (3-9) have lost eight of their last nine games and will close out the non-district portion of their schedule playing in tournament action on Thursday when they face Hot Springs. The District 1-4A campaign opens for Shiprock on Tuesday night when they visit Aztec.