FARMINGTON — After a 33-point loss against Los Lunas on Tuesday, the Piedra Vista boys basketball team needed a confidence boost.
The Panthers got just that by defeating Gallup 68-61 at home on Saturday night.
"When you get blown out like that, you never know how high school kids will react," said PV head coach Adam Huff. "The fact that they could come back and beat a top 10 team like Gallup is huge for the confidence."
After a tight first half that saw PV take a 32-31 lead into the locker room, the Panthers held Gallup to just 9-of-29 shooting in the second half to pull out a seven-point win.
"We knew we had to get stops defensively," Huff said. "We played great team defense tonight, probably the best we've played all year."
Piedra Vista jumped out to a nine-point lead after the opening eight minutes thanks to a 15-0 run in the quarter.
"We were attacking," Huff said. "We're an aggressive team that likes to get to the bucket. That's what we did in the first quarter. Dillon Mason came out and played huge, getting buckets down low for us early and that opened things up for our guards."
Gallup responded in the second quarter with an 11-1 run late in the second quarter to close the Panthers' advantage to a single point at half time.
During a back-and-forth third quarter, both teams were able to take small leads, but the Panthers scored 10 of the last 12 points, capped by an Isaiah Valdez jumper at the buzzer to take a 45-40 lead into the final quarter.
PV led the entire fourth quarter, shooting 8-of-13 from the field in the final eight minutes to lock up the win.
Troy Dixon led PV (10-7) with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
Alonzo Araiza added 16, including three 3-pointers, and Mason scored 12 to join Dixon in double figures for the Panthers.
"Everybody was fired up," Dixon said.
Mathew Begay led Gallup with 17 points in the loss.
This was PV's second victory over the Bengals (7-8) this season after defeating them 73-65 on Dec. 12 at Farmington High's Marv Sanders Invitational.
The first time the teams matched up, they combined to shoot 89 free throws, but only attempted 36 in this meeting.
"It's more fun when we get to play," Dixon said about the drastic drop in free-throw attempts.
The Panthers will be on the road next week for a pair of games against Bayfield, Colo., and Bloomfield.
PV has already defeated both opponents this season at Aztec's Rumble in the Jungle tournament.
"We're just trying to build our confidence," Huff said. "Going up to Bayfield, who knows what can happen. As long as we keep playing our team game and keep attacking, I think we'll be fine."