FARMINGTON — The first-round of the Lady Scorpion Invite pitted rivals Kirtland Central and Shiprock against each other for the third time in three weeks.
The Shiprock Lady Chieftains remained unbeaten with a 67-51 victory against the KCHS Lady Broncos on Thursday night at Farmington High. Shiprock won all three games with Kirtland Central by at least 15 points, including a 59-44 victory on Tuesday night.
"It has been a good learning experience for both teams," said Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson. "Our teams have adjusted to each other."
Taylor Henderson led Shiprock with 13 points. Ashley John added 11 more, and Shania Harry scored 10.
Larenson Henderson said his team's defense was the key to running its offense on Thursday.
"We pressured them and had some turnovers. We were able to capitalize on them and run down the floor," Larenson Henderson said. "We also ran our zone offense, and that got us some open looks."
Shiprock (9-0) scored just seven points in the fourth quarter, but had built a sizeable lead with 49 points in the second and third quarters combined.
The Lady Broncos (1-6) will play Bayfield High at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the second round of the round-robin tournament. Shiprock will face the host Lady Scorpions at 7 p.m. Friday.
Larenson Henderson called it just another game for his team to work on improving as they focus on preparing for the state tournament.
"We just want to keep pushing. We want relentless pressure," Larenson Henderson said. "We have to capitalize more on our breaks and get better shots. We also need to go strong to the hoop. I think we can get more 3-point plays if we stop avoiding contact and go straight to the basket."
In the late game on Thursday, Farmington High (4-2) built a large lead early against the Bayfield Wolverines. Although Bayfield caught up in the second half, Farmington did enough to take a 42-33 win.
"We played pretty good defense, especially in the first half," said FHS head coach Danny Secrest. "I think in the second half, we just got a little bit tired."
The Lady Scorps were led by Meeya Yazzie's nine points. Shayna Carlow had eight more points, and Makayla Wood had seven more.
Secrest called the win a good confidence booster for his team.
"Any time our girls get a win at home, it is wonderful because they have had some tough years here," Secrest said.
Secrest hopes to see his team carry some confidence into Friday night's game with Shiprock.
"We want to be confident with the ball and confident shooting. We just want to play the way we know how," he said.
Piedra Vista 68, Bloomfield 27
Two consecutive losses had Piedra Vista practicing hard this week.
After falling to Shiprock and Santa Fe, the PV Lady Panthers were determined to get a big win at home against Bloomfield on Thursday. PV (4-3) did just that, defeating Bloomfield 68-27.
"We finally got it together and got it rolling. The girls had fun, and all 13 kids that played scored," said PV head coach Joe Reed.
Kaleigh Graham led PV with 16 points, and Rytisha Brown was also in double figures with 15.
"It came down to us executing. The last two losses hurt pretty bad, and we hit practice hard. We got back to basic fundamentals, and it showed. We really took care of the ball a lot better," Reed said.
Jasmine Sappington led Bloomfield with 12 points in the loss.
Bloomfield (2-5) is back in action Friday night against Tohatchi. Piedra Vista will hit the road to play Los Alamos.
Moriarty 40, Aztec 30
After opening the season with a win, the Aztec Lady Tigers have dropped six games in a row.
Aztec (1-6) lost to Moriarty 40-30 on the road on Thursday night.
"We are a new program. All the games we have played are winnable, but it is a new program, and everybody is trying to get used to each other," said Aztec head coach Robert McCaskill.
Aztec is off until the first week of January when it hosts a tournament.
"We are most definitely looking forward to getting in the gym and getting some practices," McCaskill said.John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.