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Navajo Prep dominates Dulce in 3A showdown

Bobcats move on to consolation championship game with win over Socorro

Jake Newby
jnewby@pnj.com

FARMINGTON – The Navajo Prep boys basketball team made a statement on Friday night by handing 2-3A Dulce its second loss of the season.

Ball movement and limited turnovers helped the Eagles run away from Dulce (8-2) in the game's final three quarters. Navajo Prep (11-4) got better as the game went on and came away with the 68-51 win at the Eagles Nest in Farmington.

Fresh off an impressive win over Laguna Acoma (12-4) on Thursday, the Hawks sprinted out of the gate and put Prep in an 8-0 hole. But Eagles coach Rick Hoerner called a timeout, and his team responded very well.

Navajo Prep's Nachae Nez attacks the basket against Dulce on Friday at the Eagles Nest in Farmington.

"I said 'What are you guys afraid of here?'" Hoerner said. "I know they're No. 6 (in 3A), and they beat Laguna Acoma last night and all that, but let's step up and play."

With the score tied at 17 after the first quarter, Nachae Nez and Tyler Pete helped Prep outscore Dulce 19-9 in the second quarter by combining for 13 points.

The Eagles kept expanding on that lead from there, stretching it out to 24 at one point. Eliminating second-chance shots was a big reason for the turnaround.

"We did the Pat Riley at halftime and told them, 'No rebounds, no rings,'" Hoerner said. "In the first quarter, (Dulce) just pounded us on the glass, and then we did a much better job after that."

Prep knocked down six 3-pointers in the game, which has been an area of improvement of late.

"All we did this week was shoot the ball," Hoerner said. "We got enough guys that are confident shooting the basketball. People are going to key on Nachae Nez, and so other guys are going to have to start making some baskets. We had that happen a little bit tonight."

Nez led the Eagles in scoring as he does on most nights, netting 20 points. Pete scored in double figures for the third straight game with 16.

Navajo Prep's Tyler Pete fights for a rebound against Dulce on Friday at the Eagles Nest in Farmington.

It will be a fairly quick turnaround for Prep, which heads to Colorado for a game against Bayfield (2-5) at 3 p.m. today.

Bloomfield 58, Socorro 51

The Bobcats got back on track Friday after losing by 34 points Thursday, downing Socorro 58-51 at the Hope Christian Tournament in Albuquerque.

Bloomfield (8-6) had great first and third quarters, and was able to stave off the Warriors' (5-12) late-game surge to come away victorious.

The win sets up a Bloomfield vs. Hot Springs consolation bracket championship game at 12:30 p.m. today.

"We jumped out pretty well with a strong start and then, for some reason, we always fall back when that second quarter starts," Bloomfield coach Devon Manning said.

Socorro looked down and out in the fourth before hitting a couple of deep 3-pointers, but Bloomfield kept its composure and closed out the game.

"There's not a whole lot you can do when a guy is shooting a 23-foot shot," Manning said. "But we didn't panic, we knocked down our free throws. We shot 10 of 12 from the line and seven of eight down the stretch. So we kept our composure, and that's a good sign."

West Las Vegas 84, Shiprock 52

A nice opening quarter had Shiprock thinking upset early on, but West Las Vegas soon took command and won 84-52 in Albuquerque.

The loss means Shiprock's run in the Hope Christian Tournament ends with an 0-2 record. Chieftains coach Chester Atcitty said his team did everything right in the opening quarter.

"We had a great defensive first quarter," he said. "What we were doing was playing hard on defense and showing no fear on offense; we were attacking."

Shiprock (5-7) had a 12-7 advantage after the first, but it was all downhill from there. West Las Vegas (13-2) outscored the Chieftains 25-8 in the second and used relentless defensive pressure to hold them down for the remainder of the game.

"Our youth and our inexperience started to show," Atcitty said. "They put pressure on you, and they throw you out of your game and kind of mess up your mindset."

Andre Joe scored a team-high 9 points for Shiprock, which opens district play at Thoreau on Thursday.

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