Panthers blast struggling Bobcats 63-25

Karl Schneider

BLOOMFIELD – The Bloomfield boys basketball team couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end of the court Tuesday night, and Piedra Vista took advantage.

The Bobcats committed numerous turnovers and couldn’t get a shot to fall while the Panthers snagged almost every loose ball, errant pass and rebound there was en route to a 63-25 victory at Bobcat Gym.

“They brought energy and intensity; it’s as simple as that,” PV head coach Adam Huff said of his team’s performance. “I was worried about their effort after last weekend, and we challenged them, and they were a little more focused today and you could tell, especially midway through the first quarter.”

Piedra Vista's Fidel Castillo goes for a layup against Bloomfield on Tuesday at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.

The game started slowly for both teams, and at the midway point in the first quarter, PV (9-4) led 4-2. But as the quarter wore on, the Panthers’ shots began falling while the Bobcats (6-5) watched shot after shot rattle out.

“Their confidence was shot after that first quarter,” Bloomfield head coach Devon Manning said of the Bobcats. “That first shot was a summary of the entire game. We got a good look, the ball went all the way down and popped out for some reason. We missed three or four bunnies early, and if we make some of those shots, it’s a different ball game, I think. Not to take anything away from PV, maybe they would have kicked the crap out of us regardless, but that was the worst shooting performance I’ve seen at Bloomfield.”

With shooting woes plaguing Bloomfield, the Panthers closed the quarter on a 12-2 run and led 16-4 after the first quarter.

Things didn’t get any better in the second quarter for Bloomfield as the Bobcats committed four turnovers during their first four possessions of the quarter. And it took the hosts 3:17 into the quarter to score, ending a scoreless streak that spanned more than five minutes. By that point, PV’s lead had ballooned to more than 20 points.

Helping to spark the Panthers in the first half was sophomore guard Brady Brown, who scored nine points in the first half to help the Panthers to a 33-10 halftime lead.

Piedra Vista's Brady Brown passes the ball against Bloomfield on Jan. 5 at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield.

“Brady went in there and gave us a spark right away, and that was huge,” Huff said. “He knows what his role is right now. He knows he needs to provide a spark for us, and it starts with defense. I challenged everybody to have more energy, and he took it to a whole new level tonight.”

Brown and Keegan Acosta led the Panthers with 11 points each.

Bloomfield’s Christian Chavez led the Bobcats with 10 points.

PV will host Bernalillo (5-6) on Friday.

Bloomfield will have a week to recover and will play at Aztec (1-8) on Tuesday.

Shiprock 62, Red Valley/Cove, Ariz., 39

Shiprock locked down on defense in the first half to build a 29-9 halftime lead and cruised to a 62-39 win over Red Valley/Cove, Ariz., Tuesday night at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

“We did better job defensively in the first half, then I think we had a little too much fun in the second half, but boys will be boys,” Shiprock head coach Chester Atcitty said.

Atcitty said the biggest difference between the defense in the two halves was his team’s ability to protect the paint and stop penetration with its zone defense. He said that in the second half, the Chieftains (4-5) extended their man-to-man pressure, and Red Valley/Cove (6-3) beat them off the dribble and dumped the ball off to the weak side for open shots.

Elijah Harry led Shiprock with 16 points and Andre Joe added 12.

Shiprock will host Moriarty (4-5) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Montezuma-Cortez, Colo., 74, Navajo Prep 50

Navajo Prep couldn’t match up with the size of Montezuma-Cortez, Colo., and fell 74-50 to the Panthers Tuesday night in Cortez, Colo.

The Eagles (7-4) stayed with the Panthers (3-3) through the first half and went to halftime tied at 34, but in the second half, the Panthers used their size to pull away.

“They were just so much bigger than we were,” Prep head coach Rick Hoerner said. “They went into a little half-court trap and started trapping Nachae (Nez) every time he got the ball, then they decided to let their big guys take over. They’re 6-(foot)-6, 6-(foot)-5, and 6-(foot)-4 across the front, and we’re 6-(foot)-2, 6-(foot)-1. It makes a bit of a difference.”

Nachae Nez led the Eagles with 18 points.

Prep will play Native American Community Academy (3-8) in the first round of the Striking Eagle Invitational on Thursday in Albuquerque.

Girls basketball

Farmington Navajo Prep

The Farmington girls basketball team held off an early charge from Navajo Prep and picked up a 55-32 victory Tuesday night at Scorpion Gym in Farmington.

“We really pulled away late. The first half was tight, and they (Prep) shot the ball well in the first half,” Farmington head coach Danny Secrest said. “They took a lead on us in the first quarter, but the girls weathered the storm and came back.”

Secrest said he thought the reason Farmington pulled away in the second half after a close first half was because the Lady Scorps (4-5) were able to wear down the Lady Eagles.

Mia Yazzie led Farmington with 14 points.

Farmington will play Bloomfield (6-2) in the first round of the Kirtland Central Invitational at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Prep will host Bayfield, Colo., (2-3) on Tuesday.

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