Navajo Prep boys win Eagle's Classic

Jake Newby, and Karl Schneider
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON – The Navajo Prep boys basketball team pulled out a close win in its own Eagle’s Classic, holding off Durango, Colo’s., junior varsity team 55-52 Saturday night at the Eagles Nest.

“It was just a good basketball game," Eagles coach Rick Hoerner said. "It was back and forth the whole game and a good defensive battle. Every time they got close, someone would hit a big shot for us. It was just a good, clean, hard-fought game.”

Nachae Nez scores on a layup over Durango's Malik Liggins on Saturday at the Eagles Nest in Farmington.

Nachae Nez led Prep with 27 points.

The win not only gave the Eagles the title at their own tournament, it also allowed the team to match its win total from last season.

“It’s a big boost for the kids’ confidence,” Hoerner said. “They were only 5-21 last season, and being 5-2 so far this season is great for them.”

Navajo Prep's Isaiah Chavez takes a shot while defended by Durango's Jordan Shefford on Saturday at the Eagles Nest in Farmington.

Prep won’t have long to enjoy the win as the Eagles host Bloomfield (5-0) on Tuesday.

“I told them to rest up,” Hoerner said. “We have Bloomfield on Tuesday, and that’s a good team coach (Devin) Manning has over there. I hope we can give them a good game.”

Farmington 61, Albuquerque Academy 42

Farmington overcame a rough second quarter and took control in the second half to pick up a 61-42 win over Albuquerque Academy at Scorpion Gym Saturday afternoon.

After taking a 17-11 lead after the first quarter, the Scorps (2-1) were held to just 3 points in the second quarter and trailed the Chargers (0-4) 21-20 at halftime.

But a quick halftime adjustment was all Farmington needed to steal the momentum.

“We went from a zone press to a full-court man press, and it was amazing how big of a difference it made,” Farmington head coach Paul Corley said. “They struggled with our full-court man (press), and we created a lot of turnovers to build a gap, and they chased us the rest of the evening.”

The Scorps, who went 16 of 20 from the free throw line during the game, outscored the Chargers 19-6 in the third quarter behind the man-to-man pressure.

Diego Corley led the Scorps with 13 points while David Riley added 10.

Corley said the Scorps had balanced scoring, and the bench played well, giving the starters time to rest.

Farmington will face Fabens, Texas, in the first round of the Marv Sanders Invitational Thursday at Scorpion Gym.

Taos 72, Kirtland Central 58

Kirtland Central got into massive foul trouble in Saturday night’s home game against Taos and couldn’t overcome it.

Four Broncos fouled out of the game and two more finished with four fouls as KC (0-3) watched a two-point deficit with less than six minutes to go turn into a 72-58 loss at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

Taos (2-1) got to the free throw line a staggering 51 times and converted on 38 of those tries.

Broncos coach Brian Dowdy said the fouling was simply out of control.

“We reached, we jumped, we were out of position. It was just bad defense all night,” Dowdy said. “The officiating was fine. It was just all on us.”

KC has had a problem with slow starts in its first two games, but that wasn’t what hurt the team on Saturday. The Broncos scored 12 points in the first quarter and 20 in the second.

Dowdy said the team was in position to pick up its first win, but played too poorly down the stretch.

“We had all the looks of an 0-3 team in that fourth quarter, and I take accountability for that,” he said. “We just aren’t very smart when it comes to fouling right now.”

The Broncos play Piedra Vista (2-1) on Thursday in the first round of the Marv Sanders Invitational hosted by Farmington.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.