Navajo Prep basketball teams come up with big wins in final week of regular season
FARMINGTON — The Navajo Prep boys and girls basketball teams took big strides Monday night in getting ready for their respective district tournaments next week.
The Lady Eagles went on the road and won their fourth straight game, topping Tohatchi by a final of 54-48, while the boys team fought back a stubborn Tohatchi squad, earning their ninth straight victory with a 64-53 final.
Here's a look at the Monday night basketball action.
Farmington-area boys basketball
Navajo Prep 64, Tohatchi 53
Dontrelle Denetso scored 26 points to lead the Navajo Prep boys basketball team to an important 64-53 win at home Monday night over Tohatchi, setting up Tuesday's game at home against Crownpoint as a match for the District 1-3A regular season championship.
Denetso led the Eagles to an impressive second half comeback, outscoring Tohatchi 35-19 after the break. The Eagles (15-7 overall, 9-1 district) got off to a slow start and had trouble getting second chance opportunities against an aggressive Cougars defense.
"We decided in the second half to take the fight to them," said Navajo Prep head coach Matt Melvin. "(Tohatchi) got after us pretty good early in the game and so we made a few adjustments to get inside."
The victory over Tohatchi completes a season sweep over the Cougars. Navajo Prep outscored Tohatchi 58-39 on the road earlier this month.
The eighth-ranked team in the state in Class 3A, Navajo Prep has two games remaining on their schedule, but none bigger than Tuesday's game at the Eagles Nest against ninth-ranked district rival Crownpoint, winners of eight straight and tied with Navajo Prep in the district standings.
MIYAMURA 60, Kirtland Central 58
The race for the top spot in the District 1-4A standings remains crowded after Miyamura slipped past Kirtland Central by a final of 60-58, leaving the Patriots deadlocked in the standings with Bloomfield, only a half game back of Gallup.
Monday's home victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Patriots (12-12 overall, 7-1 district) and allows them to fight for the district title while Kirtland Central has lost four in a row, falling to 10-13 overall (2-6 district).
The Patriots and Broncos played a fairly even first half, with Miyamura leading 22-21 at the break. In the second half, the Patriots opened up strong, outscoring Kirtland Central 21-15, led by Mathias Rodriguez who scored 19 points on the night.
Kirtland Central roared back in the fourth quarter, thanks to Devin Ramone who scored 15 points and Kragen Cadman, who scored eight points.
The Broncos rally came up short in the final moments, as the Broncos have lost three of their last four games by five or fewer points. The Patriots complete a sweep of Kirtland Central this season, having narrowly beaten the Broncos 52-51 on Jan. 27.
Ja'kel Ahiyite scored nine points for the Patriots in the win.
Miyamura will be on the road to face Bloomfield on Thursday at 7 p.m. before wrapping up the regular season on Saturday night at home against Shiprock.
Kirtland Central wraps up the regular season with a pair of home games, on Thursday night against Aztec and Saturday when they face Bloomfield.
Farmington-area girls basketball
NAVAJO PREP 54, Tohatchi 48
Sophomore Aniya Johnson scored 28 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, leading the Navajo Prep girls basketball team to their fourth straight win, slipping past Tohatchi 54-48 at Tohatchi High School, handing the Lady Cougars their first district loss of the season.
The Lady Eagles are now just 1 1/2 games behind Tohatchi in the District 1-3A standings with two games to play for both teams. The two teams split their season series against one another, with Tohatchi beating Navajo Prep 63-40 earlier this month.
Navajo Prep also got solid performances by senior Amber Garcia, who scored 11 points and handed out 15 assists, as well as senior Alexis Sandoval, who scored 10 points.
"The girls played with confidence and more intensity tonight," said Navajo Prep coach Rainy Crisp. "We had better team defense and communication."
The two-time defending Class 3A champions, currently ranked fourth in that classification in the latest MaxPreps poll, Navajo Prep (17-5 overall, 8-2 district) have two games later this week in which to make a push for the postseason.
"We're still not where we want to be yet, but we're getting better," said Crisp.
The Lady Cougars were led by Kiana Bia, who scored 20 points, as well as Marisa Denetso, who added 14 points.
The Lady Eagles will face Crownpoint on Wednesday night, followed by a home game against Newcomb on Friday night.
Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.