Basketball: Farmington High teams and Piedra Vista boys squad open season with wins

KC boys fall to Valencia as PV boys win; Aztec girls come up short against Tohatchi

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The boys and girls high school basketball seasons tipped off over the weekend across San Juan County, with more than a half dozen local teams hoping to start their campaigns on the right track.

Here's a look at some of this weekend's prep hoops action.

Boys Basketball

FARMINGTON 62, Los Lunas 56

The Farmington Scorpions boys basketball team used a strong second quarter to pull ahead of Los Lunas at the half, then went on to win their season opener 62-56 Friday night on the road over the Tigers.

Led by senior Cayden Yazzie's 18 points and sophomore Cody Vassar-Steen, who dropped in 17 points, the Scorpions went into the locker room at halftime leading 34-28 before matching the Tigers point-for-point in the second half, earning their first win of the season.

"They (Los Lunas) really turned their pressure up toward the end," said Scorpions head coach Larry Chitty. "It was good to see our guys weather the it."

Los Lunas was missing some members of their expected roster due to commitments to the high school football team, which was playing in the Class 5A championship game against Artesia on Saturday. 

More high school basketball:Scorpions basketball teams prepared to make a statement this season

"It's still an accomplishment to come to Los Lunas and get a win," Chitty said. "It was a real team effort."

The Scorpions next regular season game will also be on the road, when they visit Kirtland Central on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

Kirtland Central's Cameron Crawford makes a fadeaway jumper.

Valencia 48, Kirtland Central 45

The opening game for both Kirtland Central and Valencia featured much of what you'd expect from a first game of any season.

A good measure of poor shooting, some sloppy execution on both sides and low scoring were all a part of Saturday's 48-45 victory for the Jaguars at Valencia High School.

Valencia won the game on a dramatic 3-point shot with one second left on the clock, handing the Broncos a tough loss in their opener for the season.

"Really the whole game was very sloppy," said Kirtland Central coach Brian Dowdy. "We had a couple of bright spots but overall we were not very mentally engaged."

Kirtland and Valencia battled for much of the final frame, but both teams committed multiple turnovers and neither team could open up a significant edge on the other.

With the game tied at 45-45 going into the final minute, Kirtland Central missed on a short-range jumper which Valencia rebounded and opted to take one final shot either to win the game or send it into overtime.

The 3-pointer from the far side of the court fell through as the clock expired on the game.

Kirtland Central falls to 0-1 on the season and will be facing St. Pius on Thursday in tournament action. 

PIEDRA VISTA 56, Los Lunas 46

The Piedra Vista boys basketball team outscored Los Lunas 25-10 in the second half on their way to a season-opening win, beating the Tigers by a score of 56-46 at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.

Trailing 36-31 going into the second half, the Panthers rally began in the third quarter, limiting Los Lunas to just three points as Piedra Vista assumed the lead heading into the final frame.

Los Lunas scored only seven points in the fourth quarter as the Panthers more than doubled that output, led by seniors Nathan Heidke and John Dekay who pushed Piedra Vista to a 34-21 advantage in rebounds.

Read more:Piedra Vista basketball looking for turnarounds in upcoming season

The Tigers have lost both of their first two games this season, dropping their season opener at home Friday against Farmington.

The Panthers (1-0) will be on the road Tuesday at Shiprock for the Chieftains season opener.

GRANTS 44, Bloomfield 37

The Grants Pirates boys basketball team opened their season last week on the road, knocking off Bloomfield 44-37. 

The Bobcats will be back in action on Monday, Dec. 6 when they hit the road against Pojoaque Valley.

TOHATCHI 76, Aztec 62

The Tohatchi Cougars boys basketball team got off to a fast start Saturday against Aztec on their way to a season opening 76-62 win at Tohatchi High School.

The Cougars had a 39-24 lead at the half.

"We came up short tonight, but we played well," said head coach Ryan Dee. "I'm very optimistic about the rest of our season."

Aztec will be back in action for their home opener Monday at 7 p.m. against Grants.

Farmington girls basketball coach Larenson Henderson gives his team instructions during pregame warmups Saturday night for their season opening game at Gallup High School.

Girls Basketball 

FARMINGTON 57, Gallup 46

Senior Kiiyani Anitielu and junior Kamalani Anitielu led the Farmington Scorpions girls team with a combined 29 points as the team opened the season with a 57-46 win Saturday night at Gallup High School. 

Kiiyani (19 points) and Kamalani (10) were part of a big night for the Scorpions, who also got six points from Audrey Henderson on their way to their first win of the season.

The Scorpions will head to Bloomfield to face the Bobcats in that team's season opener Tuesday at 7 p.m.

TOHATCHI 43, Aztec 33

The Tohatchi Cougars girls basketball team used an explosive second quarter to push past Aztec 43-33 in Tohatchi during Saturday's season opener for both teams.  

The Cougars outscored Aztec 27-10 in the second quarter and took a 33-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Both teams struggled to put points on the board in the second half, as Tohatchi outscored the Tigers 10-9 in the game's final 20 minutes.

Aztec will look for their first victory this season when they host Montezuma-Cortez on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.