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FARMINGTON – The Farmington boys basketball team played a complete game on the defensive end of the floor and locked down Highland for a 54-35 win Friday night at Scorpion Gym.

The Scorps and Hornets struggled to get their offenses going early on, and with three minutes left in the first quarter, Farmington led 6-2. But the Scorps closed the quarter on a 10-2 run to take a 16-4 lead.

“It was a tight game there at the beginning, but our defense was just great tonight. We held them to 4 points that first quarter, and they have some players,” Farmington head coach Paul Corley said. “I’m so proud of my kids and the way they’ve bought into being a disciplined defensive team.”

Farmington (13-2) pushed its lead to 21-7 midway through the first quarter before Highland (4-9) finally got its offense going. But the Scorps maintained their lead and went into halftime up 27-15.

In the third quarter, Farmington’s defense remained tough. During a four-possession stretch midway through the third, the Scorps came up with a block, then three straight steals. Farmington’s defense, and strong play from its bench, helped the Scorps outscore the Hornets 19-10 in the third quarter.

We had a lot of kids come off the bench tonight — our bench was really solid,” Corley said. “I think that was a little bit of a difference tonight, too. When Highland went to its bench and when we went to ours, I think we had a little bit of an advantage.”

Farmington maintained an 18-point cushion throughout the fourth quarter to secure the win.

Eight players scored for Farmington, with David Riley leading the way with 20 points.

As a team, Farmington went 15 for 20 from the free-throw line.

Farmington has now won eight straight. Corley credited the Scorps’ work ethic in practice for their strong play of late.

“Right now, we’re having some really good practices, and it’s translating into some really good basketball,” Corley said. “Offensively, they’re making good passes to find the open man. It is time for district, and I think we’re peaking at the right time.”

Farmington will have a quick turnaround, hosting St. Pius X (9-4) at 3 p.m. today.

“We’ve scouted them (Pius) pretty well, so we know a lot about them, but our philosophy right now is we have to take care of ourselves,” Corley said. “It’s up to us coaches to have the kids ready. If we play good, hard-nosed defense and smart offense, good things will happen.”

Bernalillo 71, Aztec 35

Aztec is still trying to figure its season out after suffering a 71-35 loss to Bernalillo Friday night in Bernalillo.

Of the Tigers’ 13 losses this season, 12 have come by 16 points or more.

Aztec will play at Los Lunas at 7 tonight.

Aztec head coach Jeremy Archuleta could not be reached for comment.

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

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