By Joshua Perry
The Farmington boys’ basketball team played another tight game against Gallup and, again, came up on the losing end.
The Bengals defeated the Scorpions 52-46 Friday night to advance to the final of the Marv Sanders Invitational.
“Once again, it’s just another close loss for us,” said FHS head coach Paul Corley. “We just have to figure how to win games at the end. We seem to make a dumb turnover or take a bad shot at crucial times.”
After a close first half in which Gallup took a 20-18 lead into the break, the Bengals started the third quarter on a 7-0 run to push their lead to nine.
FHS fought back late in the fourth quarter and cut Gallup’s lead to 49-46 when Josh Miller-Castillo hit a 3-pointer with 45 seconds to play.
Bengal forward Skyler Haley then missed a pair of free throws, but the Scorps couldn’t gain control of the rebound.
Gallup pounced on the loose ball and called timeout, and FHS lost its last chance to tie the game.
Matt Huffhines led the Scorps with a game-high 22 points, but no other FHS player cracked double-digits.
Corley said the Gallup defense caused his team problems most of the night.
“They were really helping,” he said of the Bengals. “They we’re getting in the passing lanes. We’re a dribble-drive and kick it out type of team, and they really helped on that a lot.”
Darren Spencer was the top Bengal scorer with 21 and hit 11-12 from the free-throw line.
Gallup had the advantage from the charity stripe, making 16-26 in the game, compared to just 6-13 from FHS.
The Bengals will play Montwood, Texas today in the title game.
The Scorps (1-5) drop to the third-place game and face Piedra Vista.
“It’s a rivalry game and both schools know it’s big,” Corley said. “It will give us an early heads-up as to where we stand in district. I’ve never been involved in a PV and Farmington game, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Montwood, Texas 75, Piedra Vista 27
The Rams dominated the Panthers from the opening tip to secure a spot in the Marv Sanders Inviational final today.
Montwood opened the game on a 14-1 run in the first four and half minutes and Piedra Vista wasn’t able to get within 10 points for the remainder of the contest.
PV (3-5) struggled with Montwood’s on-ball pressure throughout and struggled to even get shot attempts in the first quarter, attempting just four field goals as the Rams built a 26-7 lead in the opening eight minutes.
“We were making soft passes and not stepping to the ball,” said Panthers head coach Adam Huff. “When you have 13 turnovers in the first half, you can’t expect to beat anybody.”
The Panther defense improved in the second quarter, but PV was still unable to cut into the deficit. Montwood ended the first half with a 38-15 lead.
The Rams didn’t let up in the second half, hitting their first 10 field goal attempts which included a perfect 9-9 in the third quarter.
“They were efficient and don’t take bad shots,” Huff said of Montwood. “They’re quick, so if we don’t play good defense, they get back cuts and easy layups. If you get 10 layups, then of course you’re going to make 10.”
Anthony Davis led Montwood with 16 points. Ruben Lopez tacked on another 14 points for the Rams.
Troy Dixon was the Panthers’ top scorer with eight points.
Jacob Armijo sat out the game with an ankle injury suffered Thursday against Shiprock and is likely to miss today’s game against Farmington.
Shiprock 76, San Juan, Utah 68
The Chieftains coasted to victory against San Juan in the consolation bracket of the Marv Sanders Invitational.
Shiprock never trailed in the game, and led by as many as 20 points, opening up a 62-42 lead after the third quarter.
The Chieftains played a great offensive game, but still have work to do on defense, said Chieftain head coach Chester H. Atcitty Jr.
“Our ultimate goal on defense is to hold teams to 40 or 45 points,” Atcitty said. “That’s really tough to do, but the good teams that go to state are able to do it. We talk about it and put in the time in practice, but we have to transition that into the game. Offensively, we’re always going to be OK. We got a lot of scorers and guys who can do almost anything on that side of the court.”
The Chieftains (5-2) were led by Patdric Toehe and Hiram Gleason, who scored 22 points apiece.
Toehe gave the credit to his team for creating open looks for him throughout the game.
“We were passing the ball. Team play is getting us open,” said the Shiprock forward.
Shiprock began the game on a 12-4 run on its way to a 25-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Broncos battled back in the second and cut the Chieftain advantage to 39-32 at the half.
Shiprock put the game away with a 23-point third quarter in which the Chieftains hit four 3-pointers.
San Juan opened the fourth quarter with an 18-4 run, but never cut the Shiprock lead to less than five points as the Chieftains were able to close out the win.
“I wanted to play all my guys, and we lost a bit of momentum there,” Atcitty said. “Bottom line, though, is that a win’s a win.”
Shiprock went 9-17 from 3-point range in the game.
Kevin Aspaas added 12 points for Shiprock, and Justin Begay hit three 3-pointers to add nine more to the Chieftains’ tally.
Logan Meyer scored 18 points to lead San Juan.
Shiprock also beat the Broncos 54-52 in its season opener.
The Chieftains will finish the tournament today against Fabens, Texas in the fifth-place game after the Wildcats dispatched of Red Mesa, Ariz., 73-36 in the other consolation matchup.