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Farmington sneaks past Piedra Vista 39-36

Karl Schneider
kschneider@daily-times.com

FARMINGTON – The Farmington girls basketball team has all the momentum in the world right now.

The Lady Scorps have picked up three wins in the last four nights, including a fourth-quarter comeback to upset crosstown rival Piedra Vista 39-36 in the second round of the District 1-5A tournament Tuesday night at PV’s Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.

Farmington entered the fourth quarter down 32-27, but senior guard Meeya Yazzie took over in that period, scoring all 12 of her team’s points.

“She’s a tremendous asset for our team,” Farmington head coach Danny Secrest said. “She had four fouls, and it’s a liability, but you have to keep her on the floor. She’s one of those catalysts that you want to keep out there.”

Farmington's Meeya Yazzie scores during a game against Piedra Vista on Tuesday at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.

While Yazzie controlled the offense, the Lady Scorps as a whole shut PV down on defense, holding the Lady Panthers scoreless for nearly the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.

PV had chances to tie the game in the final minute, but couldn’t convert.

With 35 seconds remaining and her team down 37-35, Nykki Benally drew a foul to earn two free throws. But the senior captain went one of two.

The Lady Panthers then fouled Yazzie to keep Farmington from running out the clock. Yazzie connected on both free-throw attempts to push the lead to 39-36 with 16 seconds left. In the final seconds, PV’s Monique Russell got a decent look at 3 from the top of the key, but the shot clanked off the rim as time expired to give the Lady Scorps the win.

“Farmington outplayed us today, and they outcoached us today,” PV head coach Joe Reed said. “We weren’t there mentally in the fourth quarter, and the pressure (of the situation) got to us.”

Piedra Vista's Elli Wright hauls in a pass during a game against Farmington on Feb. 23 at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.

PV (16-9) started the game strong, jumping to a 12-4 lead after the first quarter. But Farmington (13-12) battled back and sent the game to halftime trailing 20-18.

The Lady Panthers built their lead back up to 29-20 midway through the third quarter, and again the Lady Scorps rallied to cut the deficit to 32-27 entering the fourth.

“We’ve done it a couple nights in a row now, and I hope it doesn’t turn into a trend,” Secrest said of the slow start. “The greatest thing was they never quit. They kept fighting and fighting.”

PV now waits to see where it will be seeded in the 5A state tournament. Prior to Tuesday’s loss, the Lady Panthers were eyeing a top-eight seed, which would have given them a home game in the first round, but now Reed said there’s “no way” the team gets seeded in the top eight.

Seeding for the tournament will be revealed Sunday.

Farmington will now travel to Aztec to take on the Lady Tigers (19-7) on Thursday.

Secrest said he’ll give the Lady Scorps an easy practice today to rest their legs after playing three days in four days, and he wants his team to carry its confidence into Thursday night.

“(Aztec is) a tough place to play, and I think just being positive and confident going over there will be big for us,” Secrest said. “They’re a good team, but we’ll go over there and give it all we’ve got.”

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