FARMINGTON — Strong post-play sent a talented Albuquerque Academy team past Piedra Vista on Friday night.
The Albuquerque Academy Chargers, the preseason No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A, led from start to finish en route to an 80-45 road victory against the Piedra Vista Panthers.
Forward Chris Martin led the Chargers with 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the game. Martin also helped Academy take a 2-to-1 advantage in rebounding, and he blocked four PV shots.
"We are hard to beat if he can shoot like that," Academy head coach Roy Morgan said of Martin. "We count a lot on those post guys, and our size is one of our advantages. (Martin) is a handful for a lot of teams."
Martin's fellow forward Cody Roberts scored 15 more points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter as Academy held back any PV attempt at a comeback.
The Panthers shot just 3-for-22 from the field in the first half and finished the game 15-for-51.
"The big thing in the first half was we didn't come out to play," said PV head coach Adam Huff. "You give the No. 3 team in the state and the preseason No. 1 team, who was coming off a huge win against Sandia, a 12-point cushion in the first four minutes, you have gotta battle back and force 3s you normally wouldn't."
Albuquerque Academy was able to break Piedra Vista's pressure defense with its superior size and solid guard play. The Chargers hit several runners in the lane with perfect touch from their guards.
Guard Carlos CdeBaca scored 14 points for Academy, and Bryan Jaramillo added 10 more.
Senior Alonzo Araiza led the Panthers with 22 points, 19 of which came in the second half.
"Araiza is a senior, and this is his first real varsity experience. He didn't succumb to getting his butt kicked. He came out with fire and wanted to play," Huff said. "He tried to bring us back."
Troy Dixon finished with eight points for PV on 2-of-10 shooting. Fellow senior captain Isaiah Valdez was 0-of-15 shooting at one point and finished 2-of-18.
"We did a good job taking (PV) out of what they wanted to do," Morgan said. "They are an explosive team. Dixon can play and they can shoot 3s. Our goal was to get them out of rhythm, and it worked."
The Panthers will try to bounce back against a top-10 team in Moriarty at home Saturday night. The Pintos defeated Farmington 35-26 on Friday night.
"We gotta come out and play hard. We know Moriarty will have their guys ready," Huff said.
Academy will stay in town and face Farmington on Saturday.
"This is a good trip to Farmington for us because we have a team that doesn't really know each other very well," Morgan said. "To get up here and get a win is good for us to bond a little bit."
Moriarty 35, Farmington 26
The Farmington Scorpions scored just two points in the fourth quarter in a defensive struggle with Moriarty on Friday.
Trailing just 26-24 going to the fourth quarter, Farmington (0-3) couldn't find the basket and watched as Moriarty (4-1) claimed a 35-26 win.
"We just couldn't get shots to fall. We had great looks in the fourth quarter, and it was like there was a lid on the basket," said FHS head coach Paul Corley. "It was a back-and-forth game. We were down five points at half and tied it right after halftime, but missed shots and crucial turnovers cost us again."
Jared Tschetter led the Scorpions with eight points. Alex Whitely contributed five more.
"Both defenses played great. There was a lot of ball control, and I think both teams played well," Corley said.
The Scorpions play preseason No. 1-ranked Albuquerque Academy on Saturday night. The Chargers defeated Piedra Vista 80-45 on Friday.
Santa Fe Indian Tournament
Tularosa 44, Aztec 40
Aztec scored just seven points in the first half and fell to Class 2A Tularosa.
The Tigers (2-2) rallied to close the gap to just a two-point Tularosa lead at one point, holding Tularosa to just two field goals the entire second half.
"All of their points came from the free-throw line other than six points from the 3-point line in the fourth quarter," said Aztec assistant Carl Downing. "We started the game off a little loose with the basketball, but our guys played phenomenal in the second half."
Santa Fe 52, Piedra Vista 43
A slow start haunted Piedra Vista against one of the top teams in Class 4A on Friday.
Santa Fe (3-1) built a 16-point lead in the second half against the PV Lady Panthers (1-1) in the second round of the Santa Fe Indian Lady Braves Invite. The Lady Panthers mounted a comeback, but still came up short 52-43.
"We knocked their lead down to six points with a minute to go. We managed only 13 points in the first half and scored 30 in the second half," said PV head coach Joe Reed. "It was a slow start, and Santa Fe came out and punched us in the mouth."
Reed motivated the girls at halftime to keep playing hard against the Demons.
"We told them they acted scared of Santa Fe. Our girls came out strong after that," Reed said.
Kayleigh Graham led the Lady Panthers with 13 points in the loss. Kieyoomia Benally added 10.
Reed was encouraged by the second half and believes it is a sign of good things to come for his squad.
"If (Santa Fe) is the best team in the state, I like our chances. I think we could've beat them without that slow start," Reed said.
PV gets another shot at Santa Fe on Dec. 16 in Farmington.
The Lady Panthers play Santa Fe Indian School for third place in the tournament Saturday night.John Livingston can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.