Aztec committed nearly as many personal fouls Friday night as it scored points.
With the game tied at 11 with over five minutes to play in the second quarter, Piedra Vista began a 23-0 scoring run that stretched until the 5:45 mark of the third quarter.
Aztec scored just four points in the second quarter and two in the third to enter the fourth quarter down 46-13.
The Lady Panthers (10-11 overall, 1-0 District 1-4A) eventually cruised to a 55-27 home victory in the district opener.
Claudia Charles led PV with a game-high 11 points. She was the only player in double figures Friday night.
PV led 11-7 after the first quarter, and Lady Panthers’ head coach Mike Christie sat center Kaleigh Graham, who scored six of her nine points in the first quarter, the entire second quarter after she picked up two fouls.
“I was very pleased with our girls on the bench. They stepped up and went on a 15-0 run to close the first half, and everything came from attacking the basket or from the free-throw line,” Christie said. “I don’t know if Aztec relaxed a bit with Kaleigh out.”
Aztec (10-10, 0-1) was led offensively by Kelsey Collins, who scored all eight of her points in the fourth quarter. She played just the final nine minutes of the game.
The Lady Tigers committed 24 personal fouls in the game.
“A lot of it is Aztec goes so hard. They have a lot of athleticism and have a tendency to run into people when they try to stop,” Christie said. “I told our girls to take a good athletic stance and let them plow us over, and they did a good job of that.
“The girls handled the physical game well. I was a bit upset with a shove against Graham late in the game, but she is a target a lot because of her size. I was happy the girls all kept their composure.”
PV was coming off a tough stretch with games against Miyamura, Gallup and and Los Lunas.
After beginning the district season with a win, Christie said he needs to keep his team focused.
“I have to guard against the girls getting too happy with their performance,” he said. “I need to stay on them in practice.”
PV will visit Kirtland Central on Tuesday before playing Farmington next Friday.
Tuesday’s game with the Lady Broncos will determine the favorite to win the district going forward.
“Our girls will be ready, and so will Kirtland. We don’t want to lose to them, and they don’t want to lose to us,” Christie said. “Kevin (Holman) and I have been coaching against each other in close games for about 20 years now. Nothing will be easy, especially over at their place.”
Shiprock 69, Thoreau 50
A technical foul call against Shiprock was all the Lady Chieftains needed to get fired up Friday night.
The Lady Chiefs returned home to the Chieftain Pit for their District 1-3A opener against Thoreau.
Shiprock led by just five in the third quarter when guard Taylor Henderson was called for a technical foul.
After that, Shiprock responded by jumping out to a 25-point lead.
“We had a fire lit in us tonight when that technical was thrown at us,” said Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson. “Taylor looked over at me after being called four a foul and said ‘Dad, I didn’t even foul,’ and the official just kind of T’d her up I guess.
“It fired Taylor and the whole team up. It was a pretty close game, but after that happened in the third quarter we caught fire.”
Larenson Henderson said he didn’t get an explanation from officials, but he let the reaction from Shiprock’s fans do all the talking he needed to toward the official.
Taylor Henderson finished with 18 points in the game, as did forward Courtney Steele.
Shania Harry added another 12 points in the win.
“We have so many girls who can score. We share the basketball and stress team play. Girls get open shots, and we start cooking,” Larenson Henderson said. “One night, I want to see everyone in double figures. I hope it is during the state championship game.”
The Lady Chieftains (16-2 overall, 1-0 District 1-3A) travel to Tuba City, Ariz., this morning at 6 a.m. for an 11 a.m. tipoff.
Shiprock defeated Tuba City 57-43 in Shiprock on Jan. 23.
“That is going to be our fourth game in five days. I told the girls to go get some good sleep and re-energize, because it will be a good game. Tuba City is going to come out and want to get back at us. We have to be ready to go right away,” Larenson Henderson said.
Newcomb 56, Navajo Prep 46
The Navajo Prep Lady Eagles got off to a slow start and were unable to recover as they dropped a home game against Newcomb on Friday night.
“We just didn’t come out ready to play,” said Prep head coach Rainy Crisp. “We only scored four points in the first quarter and were down 13 at halftime. After that, we had to play catchup.”
The Lady Eagles (9-9, 5-2 District 1-2A) will play Kirtland Central today before resuming their district schedule with Rehoboth on Tuesday.
“Hopefully, we’ll use the Kirtland game to get back on track,” Crisp said. “I’m focused on us playing more consistently. We’ve been playing only one or two quarters of good basketball, so it will be good to try to get back on track before the second half of our district schedule.”
Navajo Prep 54, Newcomb 53
Navajo Prep survived a scare from Newcomb as the Sky Hawks missed a game-winning jump shot at the buzzer.
Isaiah Yazzie led Prep (6-12, 2-8 District 1-2A in scoring with 14 points in the Eagles’ win.
“I think the last few games they are starting to come together as a team,” said Prep head coach Dustin Moore. “Now that we have a couple wins, the guys will think they can get a few more.”
Next up for the Eagles will be a home game with Navajo Pine on Tuesday.
“They’ve gotten us twice, so we’re looking to give them a game,” Moore said. “They have a post player that gives us some trouble, but we’re going to go out there and play our best.”