Farmington draws No. 4 seed in 5A state tourney

Bloomfield gets the No. 6 seed in Class 4A, Navajo Prep seeded 10th in 3A

Jake Newby

FARMINGTON — A potential Farmington versus Piedra Vista boys basketball quarterfinal is one of the top storylines in the San Juan County area heading into this year's state tournament.

Farmington's Diego Corley is defended by Piedra Vista's Sterlin Begaye and Fidel Castillo as he makes his way to the basket on Saturday, Dec. 12, during the Marv Sanders Invitational at Scorpion Gym in Farmington.

The state brackets were released on Sunday, and the 23-4 Scorpions drew the No. 4 seed in Class 5A. After a tremendous regular season that saw them win both the regular season district title and the district tournament championship, the Scorps will host No. 13 Bernalillo at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Farmington went on the road to defeat Bernalillo 47-33 on Jan. 9.

One of Farmington's top rivals, Piedra Vista, will be the No. 12 seed, and will visit fifth-seeded Española Valley on Saturday. The Panthers finished 14-13 this season but stumbled down the stretch, winning only three of their final 10 games.

FHS coach Paul Corley said he's not overlooking Bernalillo, but is excited about the prospects of facing PV for a fourth time this year in the quarterfinal.

"I like that (PV) is on our side of the bracket, and I think they have a great chance of upsetting Española," he said. "I know Coach (Adam) Huff is going to have them ready to go. That would be something if we locked up with them at The Pit in a couple weeks."

Bloomfield will open up the Class 4A state tournament at home with the sixth seed, and will welcome 11th-seeded Santa Fe Indian School to Bobcat Gym. The Bobcats stampeded through their 1-4A district schedule with 12 straight wins before being upset at home by Wingate in the district semifinal.

But it's a new season for the Bobcats and 1-4A coach of the year Devon Manning, who is turning his attention toward a Braves team that's won three of their last four.

"They're not really huge, but they're really quick," Manning said. "They have a lot of guards so I'm sure they have shooters. We're going to have to be prepared for that."

Kirtland Central has had its ups and downs this season with a 12-15 overall record, but some of those struggles can be attributed to coach Brian Dowdy's penchant for creating a tough nondistrict schedule. Dowdy's 10th-seeded Broncos will play at No. 7 Portales on Saturday.

Fresh off a District 1-4A tournament championship win, the 12th-seeded Shiprock boys will hit the road to play fifth-seeded Silver on Saturday.

In Class 3A,10th-seeded Navajo Prep will go on the road to play at No. 7 Estancia. The Eagles have won more games this school year under new head coach Rick Hoerner than the last three seasons combined. Though they came up short in Friday's district final against Tohatchi, Hoerner said he believed his team deserved a higher seeding.

"We beat Dulce, who's ahead of us, and beat Bloomfield, who's ahead of us and a class ahead of us," he said. "I was begging for an eighth seed. This school has never hosted a state playoff game and now I doubt it ever will."

Out of the 29 boys teams in the state with at least 20 wins, Prep (20-7) will be the only team to play on the road in the first round. Hoerner said he hopes that stat will motivate his team ahead of Saturday's game.

"I'm going to write the names of those 28 other schools on a board on Monday for the kids to see," Hoerner said. "It's either use it as fuel to go out and win or whine about it and go home."

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.