AZTEC – The inexperience of playing in a close game was a serious factor for the Aztec boys basketball team Friday night.
The Tigers held a 54-49 lead on Miyamura early in the fourth quarter, but Aztec failed to execute down the stretch and fell 75-61 at Lillywhite Gym.
“We actually played good team ball, but the youth did show,” Aztec head coach Jeremy Archuleta said. “We put ourselves in the situation all week in practice, but when it came down to it in the game, we just didn’t execute.”
Miyamura (8-12, 2-1 District 1-5A) started the game on fire, connecting on its first five shots — four of which were 3-pointers — to jump ahead 16-7 after the first quarter.
But in the second, Aztec (1-18, 0-3) battled back and sent the game to halftime trailing 26-24.
The Patriots started strong in the third, and led by 8 or more for most of the quarter, but again the Tigers rallied and sent the game to the fourth quarter with a 47-46 deficit.
“We have a lot of heart. We might not have the talent, but we have a lot of heart,” Archuleta said. “Even if we’re down by 20, we’ll keep fighting and finish the game. I always give my guys credit for bringing heart and energy to the game, no matter what the outcome is.”
Back-to-back 3-pointers gave Aztec its first lead at 52-49 with 6:50 remaining. But the Patriots stole the momentum back and rolled through the rest of the fourth quarter to pick up the win.
Preston Daughetry led Aztec with 26 points after making seven 3-pointers.
Aztec will play at Los Alamos (7-13) today in a nondistrict game. Archuleta said he’s confident the Tigers won’t dwell on the loss and will be ready to face the Hilltoppers.
“They’re a great bunch of guys, and they know how to handle it,” Archuleta said. “We come off games like this, and I know they’ll come out and play to the best of their ability. They won’t keep their heads down, they’ll always keep their heads up.”
Farmington 56, Gallup 43
Farmington took sole possession of the District 1-5A lead with a 56-43 win over Gallup Friday night in Gallup.
“In the first quarter, we jumped out on them 19-9. That’s what we really wanted to do, get a lead and make them chase us. Our defense was super tonight. I’m so proud of the kids. They completely bought in to playing solid man defense.”
The Scorps hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter to get the offense going and force the Bengals to extend on the perimeter.
With Gallup guarding the long ball, the middle opened up for David Riley, who scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half.
Nine players scored in the game for the Scorps, and Corley said his bench came through with a lot of positive plays.
Farmington (17-3, 3-0) will host Piedra Vista (11-9, 1-2) on Tuesday.
St. Pius X 65, Piedra Vista 48
Piedra Vista couldn’t get going, and the Panthers dropped their third straight game, falling to St. Pius X (12-7) 65-48 in a nondistrict game Friday night in Albuquerque.
“We didn’t execute,” PV head coach Adam Huff said. “We tried to do some different things and just didn’t execute, and when you go up against a team like Pius, where they live off of execution, you get behind, and then you’re behind the eight ball.”
Cody Harvey led PV with 11 points.
The Panthers’ schedule won’t get any easier, as they face Farmington on Tuesday at Scorpion Gym.
“We need to find that chip on our shoulder that we had at the beginning of the year,” Huff said. “We came into the year with a lot of people doubting our ability and our program, and we had a chip on our shoulder, but we lost it somewhere.”
Navajo Prep 56, Newcomb 50
It wasn’t pretty, but in the end, Navajo Prep came away with a 56-50 win over Newcomb (8-12, 1-2) Friday night at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.
The game was originally scheduled to be played in Newcomb, but a bomb threat last week forced the school to move the game to a neutral location.
“We were up by 10 points most of the way and just couldn’t put them away,” Prep head coach Rick Hoerner said. “It was an ugly game. They pressed us and made us scramble, and we looked like a bunch of sixth-graders.”
Dylan Begay led the Eagles (16-5, 3-0 District 1-3A) with 13 points. Nachae Nez, Tyler Pete and Dante Alonzo added 8 points each.
After starting its district schedule with three road games, Prep will be at home for its next four, starting with Rehoboth Christian (6-9, 0-1) on Tuesday.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.