Boys basketball teams brace for busy opening to new year
- Kirtland Central takes a four-game win streak on the road at Thioreau, followed by Piedra Vista
FARMINGTON — The boys basketball scene in San Juan County figures to be quite busy as the new year begins, with a number of teams in position to make a run towards a state title.
The Kirtland Central Broncos and Navajo Prep Eagles, who both competed in the state's basketball postseason tournaments last spring, are well on their way towards another bid at the playoffs.
Meantime, Farmington is off to a fast start in Class 5A this season, having lost only once in their first 11 games.
Here's a glance at local and area high school boys basketball teams as we head into a new year.
The Farmington Scorpions suffered their first loss of the season when facing Carlsbad in the first round of tournament action in the final week of 2021.
Since then, the 10-1 Scorpions have bounced back, winning each of their final two games in the Poe Corn Invitational at Roswell, defeating Bloomfield and Los Alamos to secure the third place title.
The 50-47 victory in tournament action on the road over the Hilltoppers was a revealing one for Scorpions head coach Larry-Don Chitty.
"We played a little sloppy, but it was great to see their composure down the stretch of a close game," Chitty said after the win. "It was good to come down here and get a couple of wins."
The Scorpions, ranked 10th in the state in Class 5A according to MaxPreps, will visit Shiprock on Tuesday at 7 p.m. before facing off with Sandia Prep in the first round of the Gallup Bengal Invitational on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
Piedra Vista, currently with a record of 6-6 this season, has lost two of their last three games and will look to bounce back Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they visit Miyamura. Beyond that, the Panthers will host Kirtland Central on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Bloomfield Bobcats ran away from Gadsden 73-36 last week in winning their only game of the Poe Corn Invitational at Roswell High School.
With a record of 5-6 this season, the Bobcats will hope to keep up the winning efforts when they visit Valencia on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Bloomfield will be busy the following week, with a home game against Piedra Vista on Tuesday, Jan. 11, followed by tournament action at Hope Christian School beginning Thursday, Jan. 13.
Kirtland Central has a four-game win streak, most recently topping Crownpoint 61-53 in their final game of 2021. Prior to that, the Broncos took tournament honors in winning their bracket of the Ben Lujan Tournament, held at Pojoaque Valley High School.
With a record of 6-6 this season, the Broncos will visit Thoreau on Tuesday at 7 p.m., followed by another road trip to face Piedra Vista on Friday night.
The Aztec Tigers (2-9) have lost six straight and will need to turn things around in a hurry when they face Cuba on Friday in tournament action.
The Shiprock Chieftains have a record of 4-6 this season and will host Farmington on Tuesday night before hitting the road to face Newcomb on Thursday at 7 p.m.
For more information on the current rankings and upcoming schedules for Class 4A schools, check out the official MaxPreps webpage.
Navajo Prep will be looking to put an end to a 2-game losing streak on Thursday at noon when they face Miyamura in the opening round of the Gallup Bengal Invitational.
Following that tournament, the Eagles, with a record of 6-4 will open District 1-3A competition on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at home against Tohatchi.
The Eagles are currently ranked fourth in Class 3A according to the latest MaxPreps poll.
Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.