Piedra Vista knocks off Farmington 72-62

Karl Schneider
Farmington's Ha'teya Holloman drives against Piedra Vista's Nykki Benally on Thursday at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – The Piedra Vista girls basketball team found on offensive spark Thursday night in the form of freshman point guard Alexis Long.

Midway through the first quarter, while PV struggled to get its offense going, Long dribbled up the middle of the court, found the top of the key abandoned by the defense and stepped into a 3-pointer to ignite her team in what would be a 72-62 win over crosstown rival Farmington Thursday night at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.

“She was outstanding tonight,” PV head coach Joe Reed said of Long, who scored PV’s first 7 points. “She was our point guard, but she brought the scoring aspect, which we’ve seen in spurts, but tonight we got a big dose of it.”

Leading 14-11 after the first quarter, PV (14-6, 2-2 District 1-5A) maintained a small cushion for the bulk of the second quarter. But in the final couple minutes of the quarter, the Lady Scorps (8-10, 1-3) battled back and cut the deficit to 24-23 with less than a minute to go before halftime.

With PV’s lead diminishing, Elli Wright drained a 3-pointer from the right corner to send the game to halftime with the Lady Panthers leading 27-23.

The two sides went back and forth throughout the third quarter, and the game headed to the fourth with PV leading 46-40.

“They played hard. The effort was great. There’s no doubt that they play with mass effort all the time,”  Farmington head coach Danny Secrest said of the Lady Scorps. “But we had some turnovers, and those were big moments.”

Piedra Vista's Autumn Begay, right, and Farmington's Meeya Yazzie battle for the ball on Thursday at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.

A couple of minutes into the fourth quarter, PV’s full-court press began to take its toll on the Lady Scorps, who committed a few quick turnovers that led to easy baskets for PV.

Behind the Farmington mishaps, the Lady Panthers pushed their lead to 58-48 with 4:00 left in the game. And that’s when senior guard Nykki Benally shined with a brilliant display of passing.

“There was a point in the game where she totally took the game over. It got the crowd going, the other players were feeding off her energy. There was probably a two- or three-minute stretch where we found the openings, and Nykki was scoring, passing and making some no-look passes. She did a great job tonight, and I thought she played well.”

With PV building its lead to 10 points, Farmington was forced to extend its defense and put pressure on the Lady Panthers. But Benally and PV continued to find openings and caught the Lady Scorps overplaying.

“I really thought that when we got down, they took advantage of all of our situations, trying to over play and play good defense,” Farmington head coach Danny Secrest said. “Nykki is a pretty good basketball player, and she’s a team player. I really respect that about her. Hopefully, we can learn from it.”

Down 62-52, Farmington’s Tanisha Beetso drained a triple from the left corner to make it a 7-point game with 2:03 left.

Trying to gain extra possessions, Farmington began fouling to send PV to the free-throw line. But the Lady Panthers converted at the stripe to hold on for the win.

Benally led all scorers with 29 points, while Long finished with 18.

Ha'teya Holloman led Farmington with 15 points, and Lyla Denny added 11.

Farmington will play at Miyamura (8-13, 0-4) on Saturday. Farmington beat the Lady Patriots 59-41 on Jan. 21 in Farmington.

PV will host Aztec on Saturday, trying to avenge one of its district losses after the Lady Tigers (17-5, 3-1) beat PV 58-50 on Jan. 21 in Aztec.

“We can’t celebrate. We have prepare for Aztec,” Reed said. “That game hurt us. We feel like we let one slip, and we’re going to have to come out and play. Aztec is playing really well right now, and defensively, they’re as good as any team we’ve seen this year.”

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