Lady Scorpions top Volcano Vista in non-district showdown
FARMINGTON − The Farmington High School girls basketball team avenged their only loss of the season Thursday night, going on the road and knocking off defending Class 5A state champion Volcano Vista by a final of 48-45.
Meantime, the Kirtland Central and Navajo Prep girls teams picked up important wins this week while the Navajo Prep boys team improved their district record to 2-0 after a romping win at home over Thoreau.
Here's a look back at a busy Thursday in high school basketball.
FARMINGTON 48, Volcano Vista 45
The Farmington High School girls basketball team has only lost twice in the last calendar year. Thursday night, the Lady Scorpions got their revenge over the only team to beat them in that time, going on the road to get past Volcano Vista 48-45.
The defending Class 5A state champions knocked the Lady Scorpions out of the Class 5A state tournament last season at the Pit back in March. Earlier this season, Farmington came up short in tournament action to the Lady Hawks, losing in the finals of the Albuquerque Academy tournament last month.
Thursday night, led by Kapiolani Anitielu's 23 points, the Lady Scorpions held off a late rally to earn their seventh straight win while improving their record to 15-1 on the season.
The Lady Scorpions led 20-19 at the half before narrowly outscoring Volcano Vista 28-26 in the second half.
Farmington led by 10 points with under two minutes left in the game before fouls got the Lady Hawks to the free throw line. Both Kamalani Anitielu and Kjani Anitielu were forced to the bench after fouling out in the game's final minutes.
"From there, the bench really stepped up," said Farmington head coach Tom Adair. "We overcame those late fouls and made some free throws on our own at the end. I'm super proud of these girls and this team."
Kamalani Anitielu scored 14 points for the Lady Scorpions and needs only two points to become the fifth girls basketball player in Farmington High School history to score more than 1,000 points in their career.
Currently ranked third in the state in Class 5A behind Hobbs and Volcano Vista according to Max Preps, the Lady Scorpions will open their District 2-5A campaign at Scorpion Arena on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Sandia. Farmington has won each of their last three games over the Lady Matadors and has a 6-to-2 series advantage.
KIRTLAND CENTRAL 48, Valencia 28
The defending Class 4A champion Kirtland Central High School girls basketball team closed out their non-district season with a runaway 48-28 win Thursday night on the road over Valencia.
The top-ranked team in the state in Class 4A this season wasted little time putting distance between themselves and the Lady Jaguars, jumping out to a 17-7 lead at the end of the first quarter before heading to the locker room with a 26-15 advantage at halftime.
"Another physical game which will only make us better," said Lady Broncos head coach Devon Manning. "The girls responded well to adversity when it hit them during the night."
Kirtland Central's win Thursday night improves their record to 15-1 on the season as they prepare to open play against their District 1-4A rivals. Their first test will be Thursday at 7 p.m. when they host Miyamura. The Lady Broncos have won nine straight over Miyamura and 14 of their last 15 matchups.
NAVAJO PREP 46, Laguna-Acoma 45
Navajo Prep's girls basketball team earned a hard-fought 46-45 win Thursday afternoon over Laguna-Acoma in the opening round of the Santa Fe Indian School's Lady Braves Invitational, advancing the Lady Eagles into the tournament's second round.
Winners in four of their last five games and with a record of 10-3 on the season, Navajo Prep opened this week by beating Zuni 49-36 to begin their District 1-3A campaign.
Navajo Prep will face Mesa Vista in Friday's second round, with tipoff scheduled for 4:45 p.m. The Lady Trojans have a record of 12-1 on the season and are coming off an 88-6 thumping of Santa Fe Prep in their opening round game on Thursday. Mesa Vista comes into the game as the top-ranked Class 2A team in the state according to MaxPreps while the Lady Eagles are ranked second in Class 3A.
NAVAJO PREP 89, Thoreau 43
The Navajo Prep boys basketball team improved to 2-0 during their District 1-3A season on Thursday night with a romping 89-43 win over Thoreau at the Eagles Nest.
Orion King scored eight second half points, while Jude Thomas, Xavier Nez and Lucious Hale all reached the scorebook in the win, which is the third straight victory for the Eagles, allowing them to improve to 13-2 overall this season.
Navajo Prep led 50-22 at the break before outscoring Thoreau 39-21 in the second half. Thursday's victory is the seventh in a row for the Eagles over Thoreau, dating back to 2019. Navajo Prep has a 15-to-4 advantage in their series over Thoreau.
The district season continues for Navajo Prep on Tuesday night, when they will host Zuni, another team over which the Eagles have had recent success. Navajo Prep has won nine of their last 10 meetings over the Thunderbirds, by an average margin of nearly 29 points per game. Tipoff at the Eagles Nest is scheduled for 7 p.m.