Unbeaten Lady Scorpions lead state polls heading into district play

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times
  • Piedra Vista, La Cueva and Sandia pose serious threats to unbeaten and top-ranked Lady Scorpions
  • Navajo Prep Lady Eagles appear poised for a run at third straight state championship
  • Kirtland Central and Bloomfield High boys teams head a wide open race in district standings

FARMINGTON — The latest rankings in high school basketball should prove both motivational and encouraging for several teams heading into the all-important district phase of their seasons.

MaxPreps, the official supplier of statistics and information for national high school sports, released its latest poll earlier this week for girls and boys basketball teams.

Here's a look at the latest poll for all our local and area teams across the county.

Girls Basketball

Class 5A 

With just two non-district games coming up this weekend, the Farmington High School girls basketball team remains atop the poll for Class 5A.

With an unblemished record of 14-0 heading and with games against Atrisco Heritage Academy and Valley High on their schedule this weekend before opening District 2-5A next week at Sandia, the Scorpions have outscored their opponents this season by an average of 28 points a game.

But the Scorpions reign at the top of the Class 5A poll will be challenged right away.

Farmington girls basketball junior Kamalani Anitielu (3) outduels Kirtland Central sophomore 	
Keira Beall-Gleason for a rebound during their basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022 in the Scorpion Arena at Farmington High School.

District rivals La Cueva (ranked fourth) and Sandia (ranked eighth) come into the district campaign with strong campaigns of their own. La Cueva has won four of their last five games and hold a record of 9-4 this season.

Sandia, at 10-3 on the season, have lost two of their last three games but had won five in a row last month.

Piedra Vista, ranked 13th in the latest Class 5A poll, is in the midst of a three-game win streak including blowout scores over Bloomfield and Los Lunas. The Panthers have outscored their opponents by a margin of nearly 30 points per game.

The Scorpions and Panthers will renew their crosstown rivalry on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at Scorpion Arena and again on Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.

Check out the official Class 5A rankings at the MaxPreps website.

Class 4A

District 1-4A is well represented atop the latest MaxPreps poll, with Gallup (12-1) ranked atop the state and Kirtland Central (11-4) ranked third heading into district season.

The Bengals, who played for the Class 4A state title last season, appear to be ready for another run at the championship, scoring an average of 61 points per game while surrendering just 44. Their only loss this season came against Farmington in the second game of the season back last fall on Nov. 27.

Kirtland Central, coming off a 38-22 win at home over Valencia on Thursday night, has a record of 11-4 and have won nine of their last eleven games.

More:Kirtland Central hoops teams win tournament titles

Gallup makes the trip to Kirtland Central on Tuesday night to open the district campaign, while the Broncos will visit the Bengals on Friday, Feb. 4 for their second matchup of the season.

Bloomfield, playing in the Hope Christian Tournament this weekend, has a record of 7-7 this season and are ranked 13th in Class 4A while Aztec (23rd) and Shiprock (25th) round out the local rankings.

Check out the complete Class 4A poll on the website.

Class 3A

Two-time defending Class 3A champion Navajo Prep appear ready to make another serious bid at a title. The Lady Eagles (9-3) have won three in a row and open their district campaign on Wednesday against Wingate.

More:Navajo Prep, Shiprock earn tournament victories in busy prep basketball weekend

Ranked third in the state behind Robertson High School and Santa Fe Indian School, the Lady Eagles have two tournament titles under their belt this season, having won both the Striking Eagle Native American Invitational last month held at the University of New Mexico and the Jerry Richardson Invitational to open the season at Shiprock High School.

Navajo Prep will face some stiff competition in District 1-3A, with Tohatchi (ranked fourth), Thoreau (fifth) and Crownpoint (eighth) on their schedule twice in the upcoming weeks.

Check out the complete Class 3A rankings on the MaxPreps website.

Boys Basketball

Class 5A

Owning two tournament titles this season and a record of 15-1 heading into the district season, the Farmington Scorpions are ranked ninth in the latest MaxPreps poll among Class 5A schools.

The Scorpions, winners of the Marv Sanders Memorial Invitational last month and most recently taking top honors in the Gallup Invitational, have won seven in a row. Their only loss came at the hands of Carlsbad (ranked eighth) in the opening round of the Poe Corn Tournament at Roswell High School at the end of last year.

More:Scorpions boys basketball wins Gallup Invitational; Broncos boys win sixth straight

The Scorpions figure to be seriously challenged by La Cueva (11-2, ranked third in Class 5A) in the race for District 2-5A supremacy.

Farmington will open their district season on Tuesday at home against Sandia, with a record of 8-6 and ranked 12th in Class 5A.

Piedra Vista, ranked 24th in Class 5A, have lost seven of their last eight games and will wrap up their non-district schedule on Saturday against Aztec.

For a complete listing of the Class 5A poll, check out the web page at MaxPreps.

Class 4A

Locally, it's been an uphill climb for Class 4A boys basketball teams, with Kirtland Central (ranked 15th) and Bloomfield (20th) battling for supremacy in their own district, but chasing other teams around the state.

Kirtland Central's Satchel Hogue (left) drives to the basket against Farmington's Marcos Araiza during a game at Bronco Arena, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.

The Broncos (8-7) are coming off a blowout loss earlier this week against Espanola Valley which snapped a six-game win streak. Bloomfield, who lost their opening round game this week in the Hope Christian Invitational to the host team, have a record of 6-8 and will open their District 1-4A campaign on Thursday at Shiprock.

The Chieftains (26th) and Aztec Tigers (27th) appear near the bottom of the most recent Class 4A rankings.

Class 3A

The Navajo Prep Eagles have lost four in a row and head into their district campaign hoping to bounce back to the form that led them to the state semifinals last season.

More:Marv Sanders Invitational Tournament Highlights

Ranked ninth in the most current Class 3A poll, Navajo Prep started the season strong, having won six of their first eight games. They'll hope to bounce back when their District 1-3A season opens on the road at Zuni on Tuesday night.

The Eagles come into the district season trailing Crownpoint, Newcomb, Tohatchi and Thoreau in the standings.

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