Bloomfield staves off surging Aztec to win 59-53 on the road
FARMINGTON — The Farmington boys basketball team is back in control of District 1-5A.
Since being upset by Kirtland Central 54-53 in the first week of district play, the Scorpions have had to either look up at other schools in the standings or settle for shared ownership of first place.
But tonight, the Scorps took control of the district race and scored a measure of revenge over KC in the process by beating the Broncos 72-57 at Scorpion Gym in Farmington.
FHS (20-3, 6-1) earned the win with its defense and by pushing the pace.
"I thought our defense was really good tonight," Scorpions coach Paul Corley said. "I think the way we played, uptempo, it wore them out. They had a lot of shots that didn't fall, that they normally get. That was kind of the plan — push the ball, pressure defense and just try to wear them down."
Farmington got out to a small lead early on that only KC guard Eric Foutz was able to combat for a large stretch of the first half. The reserve scored 11 of KC's 25 first-half points.
The Broncos (13-9, 5-2) also struggled mightily to break Farmington's press, much to the frustration of KC coach Brian Dowdy.
"We kept stopping it and going right into it for some reason." Dowdy said of FHS' press. "I called timeout and said, 'When have we been afraid to dribble? We haven't had a problem with the press all year — anybody's press.'"
The effective press was a major reason Farmington went into the half with a 37-25 lead.
The Broncos got off on the right foot in the third quarter with a 6-0 run but couldn't sustain it and couldn't get any closer than 5 points down for the duration of the game.
Farmington center David Riley was a major reason why KC could never get close to supplanting the hosts on the scoreboard. The senior big man dropped a game-high 21 points, but offense wasn't the only part of Riley's game that impressed his head coach.
"A lot of people don't realize — because he gets the dunks and scores a lot of points — how good of a defender David is for us," Corley said. "He was down at The Pit (for the state tournament) with us a sophomore, and he wants to get back there. That's the goal, we all want to get back to Albuquerque."
Farmington got its lead up to around 10 points in the final three minutes of the game. Nick Granger helped close the game out for FHS by sinking 10 of his 12 fourth-quarter free-throw tries.
Foutz led the Broncos with 14 points.
Dowdy said he warned his team not to get too high or too low with the result of tonight's game before it even began.
"If you win, even by 40, we didn't win a state title. If you lose by 40, it's just another game, you're on the road," Dowdy said. "In theory, they're a higher-seeded team, you're not supposed to win. Still a lot of basketball to play, we've got three teams, a couple of them are playing well right now, then the district tournament and state. We've just got to keep moving forward."
The Broncos are at home to play Miyamura (11-12, 2-5) on Saturday, the same day Farmington hosts Aztec (5-18, 0-7).
Bloomfield 59, Aztec 53
The Bobcats put a rough week behind them by toppling the Tigers 59-53 on the road tonight.
Losses to Farmington and Miyamura forced Bloomfield (12-10, 5-2) to relinquish its brief hold on the top spot in District 1-5A, but the Bobcats got on track by taking advantage of an Aztec team that is yet to win a district match-up.
"We had a good week of practice," Bloomfield coach Randy Crockett said. "We didn't play great — still had a lot of turnovers. But we did what we needed to do to get a win."
Bloomfield held a 5- to 10-point lead for much of the game before Aztec made a run at the end.
Tigers guard Jacob Feil was at the center of that run with a couple of deep 3-pointers to help Aztec cut the deficit to 4 points late in the game. But Bloomfield got clutch free throws out of Damion Sanchez and Adriano Stevenson to keep the surging Tigers at bay.
Aztec coach Matthew Steinfeldt said his team defense helped the Tigers hang around late.
"It was probably our best on-ball defensive game of district," Steinfeldt said. "We didn't make enough plays offensively to take a lead obviously, but it's steps in the right direction as far as the defensive side of the ball goes."
Bloomfield's Ty Padila had a game-high 18 points. Stevenson had 14.
Cody Smith and Feil each notched 13 points for Aztec.
The Bobcats try for a second straight win when they visit Gallup (9-14, 3-4) on Saturday.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.