FARMINGTON — The Shiprock defense set the tone early against Farmington High.
The Chieftains shut out the Scorpions 14-0 in the first quarter on their way to a 58-39 win on Thursday in the opening round of the Marv Sanders Invitational at Farmington High.
"The kids did an awesome job in the half court zone," said Shiprock head coach Chester H. Atcitty Jr. "We had to make a few adjustments when they went inside."
The Chieftains (4-3) forced 10 of Farmington's 22 turnovers in the first quarter to jump out to a lead they would never lose.
"They ran a 1-2-2 zone really effectively," said FHS head coach Paul Corley. "They got after it and got in the passing lanes. We just struggled trying to penetrate and figure it out. It's the first time we've faced a 1-2-2."
The Scorpions (1-4) cut the Shiprock lead to six points late in the second quarter, but Darryle Nelson Jr. hit a layup with 18 seconds, then hit a deep 3-pointer from a step inside the half-court line at the buzzer to give the Chieftains a 31-20 lead heading into halftime.
"What a way to go into the locker room," Atcitty said. "That was a big shot."
The Scorps couldn't muster a comeback in the second half as Shiprock rolled to an easy win.
Deron Johnson led the way for the Chieftains with 17 points. Justin Begay and Hiram Gleason scored 12 apiece in the win.
"You've got to be ready when your moment arrives," Atcitty said. "I'm very glad Deron did tonight."
Alex Whiteley was the lone Scorp in double figures with 14 points.
Both teams continue the tournament today.
Farmington will face Fabens, Texas, while Shiprock gets Cleveland in the winners' bracket after the Storm defeated the Wildcats 71-25.
"We got another one in 24 hours, so we've got to learn from this one and move on," Corley said.
Shiprock is excited for the matchup against an athletic Storm team.
"It's going to be an up-tempo game, which we like," Atcitty said. "Hopefully, we'll be ready."
Piedra Vista 73, Gallup 65
Free throws were the name of the game in the Panthers' opening round victory against Gallup.
PV (4-1) hit 35-of-45 from the free-throw line, including 18-of-23 in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Bengals in the final minutes.
"They're trying to tighten it up around the state, and today was a prime example," said PV head coach Adam Huff. "We shot around 80 percent (at the free-throw line) and we won the game."
Gallup (2-3) had its chances to capitalize at the line as well, but missed 20 attempts, finishing at 24-of-44 in the game.
Isaiah Valdez led the Panthers with 17 points, including 10-of-12 at the free-throw line. Alonzo Araiza added 11, and Sterling Begaye chipped in 10 for PV in the victory.
"It's a big win," Valdez said. "They're projected to go far in the state tournament."
Mathew Begay led Gallup with 17 and was the only Bengal starter to not foul out in the contest.
PV had two players, Troy Dixon and Kris Todacheeny, foul out.
With the refereeing emphasis on hand check calls this season, hitting free throws and solid perimeter defense will be even more critical than normal.
"We just have to adjust in practice," Huff said. "We have drills to adjust to it, and we try to teach proper technique."
PV faces Montwood today, and Gallup will see Kirtland Central.
"They've got a new coach, so it's a little different, but they're still Montwood," Huff said. "They're the defending champs, and we're excited. Let's just go play."
Montwood 66, Kirtland Central 54
The eight-time defending Marv Sanders Invite champions Montwood High out of El Paso, Texas, hit eight 3-pointers in the opening two quarter on its way to a 12-point win in the first round against Kirtland Central.
"It was tough because we didn't know too much about them," said KCHS head coach John Zecca. "But just from watching them warm up, we could tell who their shooters were. We didn't fight through the screens, and they were able to get looks."
Albert Bordier led the Rams (8-3) with 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range. Chuck Luevano added 20 in the win.
The Broncos hung tough after a tight first quarter, trailing 21-19, but six turnovers in the second helped the Rams extend their lead to 37-27 entering halftime.
"I don't mind turnovers if we're being aggressive," Zecca said. "But when we're making passes that aren't even close, then we've got to be smarter than that."
In the second half, the KCHS defense slowed the Rams' 3-point shooting, holding them to 1-of-7 in the final two quarters, but the Broncos struggled to rebound the entire half, and Montwood was able to maintain a lead in the 8-14 point range for the rest of the game.
"It's something we talked about after the Ignacio loss, too," Zecca said of his team's rebounding effort. "We made a little run and got stops, but then gave them second chances and that buried us."
Christian Mackey dominated in the paint for the Broncos (3-2), scoring 31 points on 13-of-15 from the field, but no other KCHS play was unable to reach double figures.
"That second half they started to collapse on (Mackey), and we didn't have anybody step up," Zecca said.