FARMINGTON — The first round of the New Mexico American Indian Classic basketball tournament tipped off Thursday night.
Navajo Prep hosted two first-round games. The Lady Eagles played the Piedra Vista Lady Panthers in a game PV won 43-33. Navajo Prep's boys welcomed Red Mesa, Ariz., and lost 83-62.
Kaleigh Graham led the PV Lady Panthers (5-4) to victory with 10 points and 15 rebounds against the Lady Eagles (3-5).
"She was very physical and strong. A few hustle plays she made in the second quarter really took some of our girls out of the game mentally," said Navajo Prep head coach Rainy Crisp.
Piedra Vista led 25-13 at halftime and stretched the lead to 15 points by the start of the fourth quarter.
Both teams were coming off long breaks for the holidays. PV hadn't played since Dec. 20, and it was Prep's first game since Dec. 14.
Crisp thought her team came back rusty, while PV head coach Joe Reed said the time off helped his squad get back to fundamentals.
"We executed. Our turnovers were down, and we came out and imposed our will," Reed said. "The last few games, we were also terrible from the free-throw line, but tonight we were 13-of-17 at the line, and that helped a bunch."
All three teams will continue playing in the tournament today at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
"We just have to get back into game mode quick," Crisp said of her Lady Eagles. "We have to get our mentality and game shape back very quick. Having one game under our belt before going to the Star Center should help."
Aztec Girls Tournament
The Aztec Lady Tigers' Rumble in the Jungle tournament kicked off on Thursday.
It was a rough opening round for the Lady Tigers. Aztec's varsity team lost to Tohatchi 42-36, and the junior varsity team fell to Miyamura 63-22.
Aztec's varsity team trailed Tohatchi 14-13 at halftime. The Lady Tigers took a 30-26 lead after three quarters, scoring 17 points. That was just two fewer than they did in the game's other three quarters combined.
"We have to maintain that intensity throughout four quarters," said Aztec head coach Robert McCaskill.
Morgan Smith led Aztec with eight points in the game.
Tohatchi outscored Aztec 16-6 in the fourth quarter to take the win. Tohatchi advanced to face Española Valley in the second round of the tournament. Española Valley defeated Wingate 73-39 on Thursday.
On the other side of the bracket, Artesia defeated Bayfield, Colo., 82-52. The Lady Bulldogs will face Miyamura in the second round today.John Livingston can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.