Farmington pulls away from KC 70-59 in semis
Scorpions cruise into Marv Sanders final behind David Riley's 25 points
FARMINGTON — In order to fend off a scappy Kirtland Central boys basketball team, Farmington had to play with poise tonight down the stretch of its Marv Sanders Invitational semifinal game, and that's exactly what the Scorpions did.
Farmington (4-1) showed it is still the team to beat in District 1-5A by breaking a late-game tie and running away with a 70-59 win over KC at Scorpion Gym.
Kirtland Central (4-2) seemed to always have a counterpunch for the hosts until late in the game, when Farmington started putting together much smarter possessions than the visitors.
"We had better possessions at the end, and our defense really seemed to step up those last two minutes," Scorps coach Paul Corley said. "We got some great stops there at the end."
The game was tied at 56 more than halfway through the final frame, at which point KC started committing turnovers on nearly all of its remaining possessions.
"Lack of experience — that's what I'm gonna call that," Broncos coach Brian Dowdy said. "We've got some guys that have not been in that situation yet. We hung right until the end, then we kind of imploded at the end."
In a game where both schools shot the ball well all night, Farmington went into the half up 32-30. The game remained a 2-point contest after three quarters, thanks in large part to KC point guard Jariah Setzer's savvy decision making and 8 big points in the third.
Contributing to Farmington's separation down the stretch was senior David Riley. After a 17-point performance versus Shiprock on Thursday, Riley was even better for Farmington tonight with 25 points, 13 of which came after halftime. Riley also blocked a handful of KC shots.
The 6-foot-7 center said he's been more assertive on offense during the Marv Sanders Invite.
"My mindset's definitely changed, I've been a lot more aggressive," Riley said. "And my teammates have been helping me out with that, getting me in great spots to score the ball."
It's not often that Riley goes toe to toe with someone his size, but he did tonight, constantly jockeying for position with 6-foot-6 Nathan Enoah, who didn't score but did a good job of protecting the rim.
Dowdy said Enoah has been a secret weapon of sorts for the Broncos this season.
"Nathan did fantastic. In fact, that's really how he's been all year," Dowdy said. "We're grateful to have him. He's been a great teammate, and he's worked hard. He's kind of our surprise x-factor."
Riley said it was fun to play against Enoah, but he believes he got the best of him.
"He's a really good player, but I knew at the end of the day that I could take him and we as a team could take them," Riley said.
Sol Rascon helped out with 13 points for Farmington, which meets Piedra Vista at 5 p.m. Saturday in a rematch of last year's Marv Sanders final.
KC received balanced scoring from its players, as Bryson Dowdy scored 14 points, Eric Foutz scored 12 and Setzer picked up 11.
The Broncos take on Durango, Colo., at 3:30 p.m. in the third-place game.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.