FARMINGTON — After picking up a key road win over Tohatchi on Tuesday night, the Navajo Prep boys basketball team avoided a letdown on Wednesday by cruising past Ramah 68-38 in a non-district game at the Eagles Nest.
While the Eagles picked up the lopsided victory, they started slowly and allowed the Mustangs to hang around.
“We talked a little bit about the basketball hangover after winning the first district game at Tohatchi, a hostile crowd, and we pulled it out at the end, and it’s hard to get up for the next night,” Prep head coach Rick Hoerner said. “I understand that. It’s hard to do, and one of the hardest things in sports. You wouldn’t need coaches if you didn’t need motivation.”
Prep (13-5) held a 10-6 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but Ramah (4-12) cut the deficit to 13-12 with 6:30 left before halftime. The threat of falling behind seemed to spark the Eagles, who closed the quarter on a 15-2 run and sent the game to halftime up 28-14.
During halftime, Hoerner reiterated to his team the importance of playing with passion.
“We talked about showing respect to your opponent. If you’re not giving it your best, you’re not showing them respect,” Hoerner said. “We wanted to come out and play a little harder and get better.”
Prep stayed on the attack in the third, building its lead to 42-22 midway through the quarter. But scoring went cold for both sides, and the game went into the fourth with Prep ahead 44-25.
In the final quarter, the Eagles continued to extend their lead before picking up the 30-point win.
Throughout the game, Prep’s Dylan Begay and Anthony Pioche-Lee found success on the inside.
The two posts, who scored 8 points each, had a major size advantage on every player on Ramah’s roster, and continually pulled down offensive rebounds for easy put backs.
“We were just so much bigger than they were. When we had the patience to get it inside, we dominated with our size,” Hoerner said.
Prep will play its third game in as many days today, traveling to Navajo Pine to take on the Warriors (7-9) in another non-district game.
Moriarty 53, Kirtland Central 49
The Kirtland Central girls basketball team saw its nine-game winning streak come to an end with a 53-49 loss at Moriarty on Wednesday night.
“They came out really hot. I think they hit seven 3-pointers in the first half,” KC head coach John Zecca said of Moriarty. “We still had a lead at half, but we came out pretty slow in the third quarter. We couldn’t do a whole lot, and they were still hot.”
While Moriarty (12-5) was on fire from beyond the arc, the Lady Broncos (11-4) couldn't get a shot to fall, going 4 of 18 from long range. Zecca said KC got open looks, but couldn’t knock them down.
Haile Gleason led KC with 15 points, and Deiondra Smith came off the bench to score 12.
The Lady Broncos will have back-to-back road games on Friday and Saturday, going to Thoreau (4-10) and then Montrose, Colo., (7-4) for their third and fourth games this week. And Zecca said he plans to give his team an easy day of practice Thursday.
“I kind of have to,” Zecca said. “There are some things we need to work on, but we’re not going to do that at full speed. We need to focus on district. There’s no shame in this loss.”
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.