FARMINGTON — After a tough battle through three quarters, Shiprock pulled away with a win in its season opener.
The Shiprock Chieftains (1-0) led San Juan High (0-1) of Blanding, Utah, 35-32 at halftime, and the Chieftains pulled away to take a 79-69 in the final quarter for their first win of the season on Tuesday.
"It was a tough start, but we pulled it out in the end. The difference was just finding the hot hand and feeding the ball to the right person," said Shiprock head coach Chester H. Atcitty Jr. "We are still young and were getting the feel for our first game. I think our kids did awesome."
Justin Begay and Hiram Gleason led the team all night. Begay finished with 24 points, and Gleason added 16 more.
"Hiram really got it going in the second quarter," Atcitty said.
Atcitty said his team's full-court, pressure defense was the key to keeping a lead.
"We stayed with that press, and all the guys rotated in and out and kept that pressure up," Atcitty said.
Derron Johnson added another 12 points in the win for Shiprock.
The Chieftains didn't get many offensive rebounds, but Atcitty said his team played tough team defense.
Shiprock is off until Dec. 5 when it begins play in the Kirtland Central tournament.
Gallup 71, Farmington 54
A tough Gallup team fresh off an upset of the top-ranked team in the state welcomed the Scorpions for Farmington High's season opener on Tuesday.
Gallup took control of the game quickly en route to a 71-54 victory.
"I think the difference was you could tell Gallup had one game under their belt and had confidence from beating Albuquerque Academy. We had the deer in the headlights syndrome," said Farmington head coach Paul Corley. "For all our new varsity guys, it was their first game up from the junior varsity level. I am proud of their effort."
Corley said simple turnovers and missing easy shots led his team to a loss against the Bengals.
Jared Tschetter led the Scorpions with 16 points. Max Pinon added another 13 points, and Victor Lopez scored 12.
"If we can get one more guy and have four kids in double figures, I like our chances," Corley said. "Eight out of our 10 guys scored, and I like that balance."
The Scorpions (0-1) will travel to Grants for their second game of the season on Saturday.
Gallup 77, Farmington 44
The Farmington Lady Scorpions hosted a tough Gallup Lady Bengals team in their season opener on Tuesday.
Gallup (2-1) controlled the game in the first quarter and cruised to a 77-44 victory to send the Lady Scorpions to 0-1 to start the season.
"Gallup definitely has some good players. They jumped out early and put a lot of pressure on us," said Farmington High head coach Danny Secrest. "Our girls are learning how to do things, and we learned a lot from the first half to the second half."
Brighton Clah and Makayla Wood led the Lady Scorps with eight points each.
"We were pretty balanced with scoring. It was nice to see every girl contributed," Secrest said.
Farmington is in action again Dec. 5 at the Shiprock tournament.John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.