Panthers maul Tigers 83-43

Karl Schneider
Piedra Vista's Keegan Acosta lays the ball up during a game against Aztec on Friday at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.

AZTEC – After struggling to find its identity the last two weeks, the Piedra Vista boys basketball team got back on track with a 83-43 thrashing of Aztec Friday night at Lillywhite Gym.

The win over the Tigers (1-20, 0-5 District 1-5A) snapped a four-game losing streak for the Panthers (12-10, 2-3), who were outscored by an average of 16 points during the skid.

“They played hard, and it really started in our practices,” PV head coach Adam Huff said. “We finally had two really good practices the last two days, and it showed. That was the message to them, ‘If you practice like that and get after each other, you’re going to get after any other team that we play.’”

The first quarter remained relatively close, but a Keegan Acosta 3-pointer from the corner as the buzzer sounded gave PV a 20-12 advantage.

The PV offense used the momentum from Acosta’s triple to catch fire in the second quarter, scoring 26 points in that stanza.

Aztec's Preston Daughetry lays the ball up during a game against Piedra Vista on Friday at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.

While Acosta ignited the offense, Ryan Montoya came off the bench and sparked the defense.

Montoya, a senior guard who usually sees limited playing time, took advantage of his time and played a key role in shutting down the Tiger offense in the second quarter.

“We had some sick kids and a little bit of foul trouble in the first half, and Montoya hasn’t played basketball in two years, but I told him, ‘Whenever it’s your time, just be ready and go play hard,’” Huff said. “He finally took it to heed tonight. He did a great job getting us going.”

The Panthers held Aztec without a field goal for the first 6:56 of the second quarter and took a 46-19 lead into halftime.

The break in action didn’t slow down Acosta, who scored 15 points in the third quarter to help extend the lead to 73-32 heading to the fourth.

“I challenged Keegan personally. He has kind of been in a little slump the last three or four games,” Huff said of Acosta, who scored all of his game-high 37 points through the first three quarters. “I told him to look at some film and think back to when he last had a good game, and I challenged him to be stronger mentally and be a leader for us, and that’s what he did tonight.”

Piedra Vista's Jarrett Graham lays the ball up over Aztec's Tanner Brooks during a game on Friday at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.

Preston Daughetry led Aztec with 11 points.

Aztec will play at Farmington (19-3, 5-0) on Tuesday.

PV will host Gallup (17-5, 3-1) on Tuesday.

Farmington 77, Miyamura 31

Farmington’s defense clamped down on Miyamura (8-14, 2-3), and the Scorpions rolled to a 77-31 victory Friday night in Gallup.

“Defensively, we just really shut them down,” Farmington head coach Paul Corley said. “We jumped out on them 10-0, and from then on we controlled the game.”

The Scorps led 26-6 after the first quarter, and extended their lead to 49-15 at halftime.

Farmington made seven 3-pointers on the night and got a lot of its offense off turnovers that led to easy buckets.

A total of 10 players scored for the Scorps. Berrett Bentley and David Riley finished the night with 12 points each while Nick Granger added 10 points.

Farmington will host Aztec (1-20, 0-5) on Tuesday.

Tohatchi 61, Navajo Prep 52

Navajo Prep couldn’t get its offense going, and the result was the Eagles losing their first district game of the season, falling to Tohatchi 61-52 Friday night at the Eagles Nest in Farmington.

“We just couldn’t score tonight. (Nachae) Nez and (Tyler) Pete had 43 of our 52 (points), and everybody else really struggled shooting the ball,” Prep head coach Rick Hoerner. “Defensively, the Navajo Prep coach (Hoerner) out-thought himself tonight. We tried to play a little (man-to-man defense) to try to take them out of their rhythm, and they hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter alone.”

Prep will host Newcomb (8-13, 1-3) on Thursday.

Even with the loss, the Eagles (17-6, 4-1) are still atop the District 1-3A standings with a one-game lead on Tohatchi (7-15, 3-2).

“All we really have to do is take care of our business and win out. If we do that, we’re fine,” Hoerner said. “I told them, ‘We’re 17-6. The sun is going to come up tomorrow.’ Those guys never in their wildest dreams thought they’d be 17-6 right now, so they have to look at the bright side and not the negative.”

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