Eagles win first playoff game in school history
FARMINGTON — The Navajo Prep boys basketball team made it to the state tournament for the first time in 2001, but didn't win there. Fifteen years later, coach Rick Hoerner's Eagles made school history.
Tenth-seeded Navajo Prep hit the road on Saturday to top No. 7 Estancia 45-42 in overtime. Hoerner said he felt great after the game, especially since Prep was the only school in New Mexico to win 20 regular-season contests and not earn a home playoff game.
"I won't lie, it feels pretty darn good right now," he said. "Our guys used the slight as motivation this week. They showed a lot of character, and I really couldn't be prouder of them."
The Eagles (21-7) stumbled out of the gate, falling behind 7-0 before catching up. They went into halftime down by 3 before dominating Estancia (22-7) in the third quarter.
Isaiah Chavez led a 17-5 third-quarter run with 6 points and two steals. Chavez scored a team-high 14 points for Prep.
"He was big in that third quarter but almost equally as important, he carried us in the first with two big 3s," Hoerner said of Chavez's performance.
The Bears showed heart by battling back and tying the game at 42 late in the fourth. They turned it over with two seconds to go, but Prep couldn't nail a long 3-pointer as time expired in regulation.
In overtime, Prep's defense stepped up. The Eagles won the OT period 3-0 and stripped an Estancia post player of the ball on the Bears' final possession to seal it.
The Eagles D held Estancia's Matthew Urban — who averaged 22.8 points per game during the regular season — to just 6 on Saturday.
Nachae Nez battled foul trouble to finish with 9 points for Prep, which will move on the quarterfinals to face No. 2 Texico at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.