Lady Scorps' comeback falls short vs. Cleveland

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON — The Farmington girls basketball team suffered its first loss of the young season today when its fourth-quarter comeback effort came up short against Cleveland at Scorpion Gym.

Farmington's Ha'Teya Holloman tries to drive through the Cleveland defense on Saturday at Scorpion Gym.

After falling behind 37-27 early in the fourth quarter, the Lady Scorps sped up the tempo of the game and cut Cleveland’s lead to 43-42 with 2:04 remaining. But Farmington’s offense couldn’t keep the run going, and the Lady Scorps fell 50-44.

“The first three quarters, (Cleveland) dictated the pace of the game. They got what they wanted and slowed us down,” Farmington coach Brady Rivers said. “We basically told them (going into the fourth quarter) that we needed to extend the pressure, and we got lucky and got a couple of turnovers and it kind of worked out for us.”

Down 10 with a little more than six minutes to go, Lyla Denny and Brianna Charley combined to score 6 quick points for Farmington.

The Lady Scorps (2-1) kept pushing Cleveland (1-1), getting buckets from Charley and Ha’Teya Holloman to cut the Lady Storm’s lead to 43-42.

Farmington's Brianna Charley saves the ball from going out of bounds against Cleveland on Saturday at Scorpion Gym.

Cleveland got the lead up to 48-44 with a little less than a minute to play, and Farmington had a couple of clean looks to cut the deficit to one possession, but couldn’t convert.

On the day, Farmington made just five trips to the free-throw line — making all five shots — compared to Cleveland’s 13-for-22 line.

“The offense is set up to attack the basket. Whether it’s off of a pick-and-roll or off the dribble. The offense is set up to get into the paint, and I don’t know why we weren’t getting into the paint tonight,” Rivers said. “I definitely think we could have got in there a few more times, got some fouls and knocked down a couple more free throws.”

After a good start to the first quarter, the Lady Scorps went cold and turned over the ball, allowing Cleveland to build an 18-10 lead late in the quarter.

But Farmington got going, scoring at the end of the quarter to spark an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 20-18 midway through the second. The Lady Scorps kept within a few points the rest of the quarter, but could never take the lead and trailed 25-23 at the half.

Farmington lacked intensity in the third quarter, and the Lady Scorps went six minutes without scoring.

Farmington's Philinda Nez drives to the basket against Cleveland on Saturday at Scorpion Gym.

“All three games this year, we haven’t played well coming out of halftime. That’s something we as coaches need to address,” Rivers said. “We need to do something to get them going because we usually have a lapse in the first four minutes of the third quarter and then pick it up at the end. We have to figure out what’s working in the other quarters and implement that in the third.”

Luckily for Farmington, the Lady Storm wasn’t able to capitalize on the Lady Scorps’ offensive woes and held just a 34-27 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Denny led Farmington with 11 points. Charley and Holloman added 9 and 8, respectively.

The game against Cleveland was the first of a challenging five-game stretch for the Lady Scorps. They’ll play Piedra Vista, Arizona’s Red Valley/Cove and Bloomfield at the Jerry Richardson Invitational starting Thursday in Shiprock, then will play at Shiprock on Dec. 5.

“There’s nothing we can do about it. The schedule is made, and we need to show up and play,” Rivers said. “It’s a tough stretch for us. We have a young team, and it’s time for us to get going, one way or another.”

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