Long leads Lady Panthers past Farmington 44-30

PV sophomore Alexis Long picked apart the

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista girls basketball team took a straightforward approach for its game against crosstown rival Farmington tonight — put the ball in Alexis Long’s hands and see if the Lady Scorps could stop the sophomore guard.

Piedra Vista's Alexis Long puts up a shot against Farmington on Friday at Scorpion Gym.

The plan worked.

After a slow start in the first quarter, Long and the Lady Panthers dominated Farmington from the start of the second quarter until the final buzzer in a 44-30 victory at Scorpion Gym.

With Farmington’s Ha’Teya Holloman on the bench for most of the game with foul trouble, the Lady Scorps didn’t have anyone who could match Long’s quickness. Recognizing that advantage, PV ran a four-low offense, getting the ball to Long at the top of the key and letting her go one on one with whoever was guarding her.

The majority of the time, Long was either able to beat the defender off the dribble for an easy bucket or draw a foul in the paint, or dump the ball off to an open post or kick it out to a shooter when the defense came to help.

“Earlier this afternoon I noticed that Lexi’s (shot attempts) are down, and we wanted to find a way to create more shots for her to get her going," PV coach Joe Reed said of Long, who finished with a game-high 14 points. “She did a great job breaking (Farmington) down and creating not only for herself but for everyone else, as well.”

Often on the receiving end of Long’s assists were Naomi Smith and Kristi Lee Bennie, who scored 7 and 6 points, respectively.

Both teams struggled to score in the first quarter, and the game was tied at 5 heading to the second.

Piedra Vista's Keylie Kemple, left, and Farmington's Celeste Coolidge fight for the ball on Friday at Scorpion Gym.

But as the Lady Panthers (6-2) began to find openings in Farmington’s defense in the second, the Lady Scorps (4-5) continued to struggle against PV’s pack-line defense.

“We started it (Thursday) night against Bloomfield and had a lot of success with it,” Reed said of the pack-line defense. “And we’re not a very good rebounding team, so it helps put us in position to grab more boards.”

Behind its defense, PV outscored Farmington 14-7 in the second quarter and took a 19-12 lead into halftime.

“We weren’t making shots, but we weren’t running our offenses correctly, either. When you don’t run the offenses correctly and run around hoping for the best, at this level, you’re not going to win,” Farmington coach Brady Rivers said. “We needed to settle down and attack the basket, but we didn’t. I feel like we didn’t play hard, and when you don’t play hard, you can’t expect things to go your way.”

Farmington's Tamia Pete shoots against Piedra Vista on Friday at Scorpion Gym.

The third period was when Long really took over, leading the Lady Panthers to a 20-point quarter behind a handful of assists, including drive-and-kick assists to Hannah Sayyeau and Ellyce Reed for wide open 3s when the defense got sucked in.

With a 15-point lead going into the fourth quarter, PV spread its offense out and slowed down the pace to eat up clock and secure the win.

Lyla Denny led Farmington with 12 points, and Tamia Pete added 10.

Sayyeau finished with 8 for PV.

Farmington will be off until Dec. 28 when the Lady Scorps meet Caprock (5-9), out of Amarillo, Texas, at the Clovis Tournament.

Piedra Vista will host Shiprock (9-2) on Tuesday. The Lady Panthers beat the Lady Chieftains 37-36 on Dec. 3 at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

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