PV girls claim title at Lady Braves Classic

Karl Schneider, and Jake Newby
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON – The Piedra Vista girls basketball team used its press to run past Jemez Valley 77-47 in the championship game of the Lady Braves Classic, hosted by Santa Fe Indian School, Saturday in Santa Fe.

“The girls came out really intense, and it was the best we looked all weekend,” PV head coach Joe Reed said. “They were saving the best for last, I guess.”

PV held a 14-point lead at halftime, and Reed said the Lady Panthers came out in the third quarter and put the game away.

“The first two days, they were sluggish, not getting to their spots and looked tired, but tonight they looked fresh and ready to go,” Reed said. “We always like to end a tournament on high note, and we did that tonight.”

PV’s Nykki Benally scored 28 points in the final and was awarded the tournament’s MVP award.

Elli Wright finished the game with 16 points and nine rebounds.

Wright and Monique Russell were named to the all-tournament team, as well.

After the demanding weekend tournament, things won’t get easier for the Lady Panthers.

The Lady Panthers will play at Cleveland (3-2) on Tuesday, at Kirtland Central (2-1) on Thursday, then at Shiprock (3-1) on Friday.

“They can enjoy it tonight, but we have a tough week next week,” Reed said. “We’ve got to hit practice on Monday and get better.”

Kirtland Central Miyamura 

The Lady Broncos put Friday’s loss to Cleveland behind them on Saturday night by blasting Miyamura 67-35 on the road to take third place in the Gallup Tourney.

Freshman Tiajhae Naz scored 13 points, and senior Shamika Benally chipped in with 11 as KC jumped all over the Lady Patriots from the opening tip until the final buzzer.

“I kind of forced the tempo tonight. I felt like we needed to push the pace and create more pressure,” KC coach John Zecca said. “We were able to create some offense with our defense.”

Zecca said he thought the Lady Broncos’ all-around effort was much better on Saturday than it was on Friday, where his team blew a 9-point halftime lead.

“I told the girls that we’re going to have our ups and downs. We have a mixture of kids with experience and young girls that are getting a lot of playing time,” Zecca said. “We've just got to come out and play hard every night, and learn from every game.”

KC got contributions from up and down the bench, including a 9-point performance from role player Mishaila Tso. The Lady Broncos host Gallup Tuesday night.

Navajo Prep 46, Santa Fe Indian School 31

Navajo Prep’s defense clamped down and held Santa Fe Indian School (1-3) in check to pick up a 46-31 win in the third-place game at the Lady Braves Classic, hosted by SFIS, Saturday in Santa Fe.

“It was definitely our defense that did it for us today," Prep head coach Rainy Crisp said. "We were able to pick up the defense where we left off against Piedra Vista (Friday), and we got some great scores off of pushing the ball.”

Harlei Haceesa led the Lady Eagles (3-2) with 15 points.

Prep’s Martinique Larvingo was named to the tournament’s all-tournament team, and Crisp said the rest of the team is feeding off of Larvingo’s play right now.

The third-place finish for the Lady Eagles serves as a statement to how far they’ve come in the two weeks since their season opener, when they lost by 41 points to Piedra Vista.

“Coming into this tournament, with that overtime win against Robertson (in the first round) and that game against PV (in the semifinals), and now this game, it’s a totally different team,” Crisp said. “I’m very proud of how these girls bought into the system on defense and offense. For how young we are, they’re really wanting to learn, and that’s the best thing you can ask for.”

Prep will play at Bloomfield (1-0) on Monday.

Aztec 47, Capital 19

After falling to Española Valley in the semifinals of the Al Armendariz Tournament on Friday in Santa Fe, Aztec bounced back with a 47-19 blowout of Capital, which hosts the tournament, on Saturday.

The win over Capital (1-5) gave the Lady Tigers (2-1) a third-place finish at the tournament.

Aztec will be back in action on Tuesday, hosting Wingate (0-2).

Aztec head coach Robert McCaskill could not be reached for comment.

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.