Panthers fight off Miyamura 52-40

Karl Schneider
Piedra Vista's Keegan Acosta dunks the ball during a game against Miyamura on Feb. 23 at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – It wasn’t pretty, but the Piedra Vista boys basketball team did enough to pick up a 52-40 win over Miyamura in the second round of the District 1-5A tournament Tuesday night at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.

After Jarrett Graham hit a 3-pointer on PV’s first possession of the game, the Panthers failed to score for a five-and-a-half-minute stretch and trailed the Patriots 9-5 after the first quarter.

PV then outscored Miyamura 14-4 in the second quarter to take a 19-13 lead into halftime.

“Honestly, I have no clue (what the issue was),” PV head coach Adam Huff said of his team’s up-and-down game. “Maybe we weren’t focused enough before the game, and beating them by 40 the last time we played maybe got into our mindset. We told them that they shouldn’t be satisfied with the win, but at this point, it’s survive and advance, and that’s what we did tonight.”

Early in the second quarter with the score tied at 9, PV got its first boost from senior Keegan Acosta.

On a fast break, Acosta received a pass on the right wing, crossed over to the middle of the court to get by his defender and took to the air with a two-handed flush that ignited the Panthers and the crowd.

“Really, I didn’t know I was going to dunk it until I was up there,” Acosta said. “Usually, that’s not a typical place to (jump) from and be able to do that. I just saw the opening and got up high enough.”

The dunk was the first of two for Acosta, who led PV with 22 points and always seemed to come through when the Panthers needed a bucket.

“I’ve been telling him since last year, ‘You just need to be able to elevate and dunk on people,’ and he did that a couple times tonight,” Huff said. “I think that gave a spark, and I think it put a little bit of fear into (Miyamura) that he could do that. It changes the outcome of a game.”

After halftime, PV maintained a small cushion, but in the final minutes of the third quarter, the Panthers (14-12) pushed their lead to double digits.

Providing a boost off the bench for PV was junior Jason Compton, who dominated the boards and kept the Patriots (10-17) from second-chance opportunities.

Piedra Vista's Jason Compton eyes the basket during a game against Miyamura on Tuesday at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.

“He just had energy. He was getting to the right spots and working hard and rewarding himself,” Huff said of Compton. “He wanted the ball, and he came with a little more energy than everyone else. He really helped us tonight.”

PV will travel to Gallup to challenge the Bengals (20-6) tonight. It will be the fourth meeting between the two teams this season, with the Bengals winning all three.

“We’ve had shots at every single one of them,” Huff said of the Gallup games. “We’d be within 5 or had the lead with four minutes to go. We need to come out and be sure to have the energy that we know we can play with, and the want and desire, and not just as individuals but as a team. Hopefully, that will allow us to have a chance, that’s all you can ask for, especially on the road and at Gallup.”

Shiprock 69, Thoreau 40

After somewhat of a bumpy first half, Shiprock locked down and dominated Thoreau in the second half for a 69-40 victory in the first round of the District 1-4A tournament Tuesday night at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

“It was a little too close for my comfort at halftime,” said Shiprock head coach Chester Atcitty, whose team led 29-25 at halftime. “We turned it up in the second half and took care of business.”

In the third quarter, the Chieftains outscored the Hawks 19-8 in the third quarter, then 21-7 in the fourth to get to the lopsided final.

Atcitty said Shiprock (15-12) started the first quarter well, but it took his second unit a bit to get going, which allowed the Hawks (5-21) to remain close through the first half.

Shiprock saw a well-balanced offense throughout the game, with only two Chieftians — Andre Joe, who played only a few minutes after suffering a shoulder injury last week, and Antonio Cota, who left the game early with a sprained ankle — failing to score.

Elijiah Harry led Shiprock with 18 points and Landon Henderson added 10.

Shiprock will travel to Kirtland to face the Broncos (12-14) in the tourney’s second round on Thursday.

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