Panthers dominate second half to knock off KC

Karl Schneider

KIRTLAND — With a brutal District 1-6A schedule on the horizon, the Piedra Vista boys basketball team needed a good win to gain some momentum at the midway point of the season, and the Panthers delivered.

Kirtland Central's Terrin Wilie, left, and Brock Beckstead, right, try to strip the ball away from Piedra Vista's Terrell Todacheeny on Friday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

After an up-and-down first three quarters, PV took control in the fourth quarter and handed Kirtland Central a 63-52 loss tonight at Bronco Arena.

“It was good to get the win because we were on a three-game losing streak, and it’s nice to break that streak and come in to district with a win,” PV senior Jason Compton said. “Kirtland is always a tough place to get a win, and it’s nice to win here.”

PV got its usual production from junior guard Jarrett Graham, who led the Panthers with 23 points. But the Panthers’ star of the night was Compton, who seemed to be everywhere in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points in the quarter to help PV pull away.

“He was just a product of how we practiced this past week,” PV coach Devon Manning said of Compton. “He was in the right place at the right time, and credit to his teammates for finding him. And he finished a lot of tough baskets underneath.”

Piedra Vista's Jason Compton goes for a layup against Kirtland Central on Friday at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

The Broncos (7-7) got off to a hot start and built a 17-12 lead after the first quarter.

The Panthers (8-9) began chipping away at the deficit, tying the game a couple of times, but they were never able to take the lead and trailed 31-28 at halftime.

“I thought we played well in the first half,” KC coach Brian Dowdy said. “I went into the locker room feeling good about the game. I felt like we were in control of the game, but in the second half, we just didn’t come out.”

KC couldn’t get a shot to drop in the second half, scoring a mere 4 points in the third quarter, and at the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Broncos had just 8 points in the half.

The Panthers weren’t able to capitalize on KC’s struggles in the third, scoring only 8 points in the quarter to take a 36-35 lead into the fourth quarter.

But while KC still couldn’t find a rhythm, PV got rolling behind Compton and pushed its lead to double digits.

KC finally started scoring in the final minutes of the game, but the Panthers connected on 13 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter to keep the Broncos at bay.

Kirtland Central's Bryson Dowdy goes up for a shot against Piedra Vista on Jan. 13 at Bronco Arena in Kirtland.

Bryson Dowdy led KC with 21 points. Jariah Setzer added 17, and Terrin Willie finished with 10.

Brady Brown added 10 for the Panthers.

PV will be off until Jan. 20 when the Panthers host Cibola (12-3) for the District 1-6A opener.

KC will host Grants (13-3) Saturday afternoon.

Desert Academy 54, Navajo Prep 49

If the Navajo Prep boys basketball team wasn’t superstitious about playing on Friday the 13th, the Eagles certainly are now after a weird day in Santa Fe and a 54-49 loss to Desert Academy.

The day started on a bad note when the Eagles were informed there would be no junior varsity game, and Prep was given 15 minutes to get its varsity roster on the court and ready to play.

The Eagles (11-5) handled the quick turn of events well and led most of the game.

With a 1-point lead, Prep’s Lance Moore committed his fifth foul with 1:19 remaining, and the Ealges’ chances of winning were thrown out the door.

Prep coach Rick Hoerner said that while one officials told him it was Moore’s fifth foul and he needed a new player to replace Moore, another official allowed Desert Academy (9-7) to shoot free throws for the foul. When a Prep assistant objected, saying the team needed to substitute to put five eligible players on the floor, he was given a technical foul. He was then given a second technical immediately afterward to earn an ejection. While he was walking off the court, he was handed a third technical.

After the bizarre sequence, and the original personal foul, Desert Academy shot eight free throws, making them all, to turn a 1-point deficit into a 7-point lead and get the win.

“It was a bad combination. A full moon, Friday the 13th, I guess that’s what it is,” Hoerner said. “It’s one of those things that happened that shouldn’t have. They (the officials) knew they were wrong and even admitted it, but the damage was done by then.”

Trejan Clichee led Prep with 15 points.

Prep will host Ramah (4-12) on Tuesday.

Bernalillo 74, Aztec 63

A bad stretch in the second quarter that saw Bernalillo catch fire doomed Aztec to a 74-63 loss today at Lillywhite Gym.

“We held a lead through the middle of the second quarter, then let them rally off for 25 points in the second quarter,” Aztec coach Matthew Steinfeldt said.

After the bad end to the first half, Aztec rallied back in the second half, cutting the Spartans’ lead to 3 points in the final few minutes. But the Tigers (5-10) couldn’t keep up the pace and saw Bernalillo (6-12) pull away to get the win.

Cody Smith led Aztec with 22 points. Tanner Brooks added 10.

Aztec will host Los Lunas (12-3) Saturday.

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