Scorps slide past Los Alamos to reach quarters

Farmington overcomes slow start, outscores Hilltoppers 19-6 in fourth quarter to get 53-40 victory

Karl Schneider
  • Bloomfield's upset bid against No. 1 Roswell comes up just short in 71-66 loss.
  • Navajo Prep pushed Silver to the edge, but couldn't match the athleticism of the No. 3 Colts.
  • Shiprock had some success, but the No. 2 Rams slowed the Chiefs down enough to get the win.

FARMINGTON — The Farmington boys basketball team sent Scorpion Gym out in style.

Farmington's Nick Granger makes a pass around Los Alamos' Cade Gasway on Saturday at Scorpion Gym.

In the final game at the facility, which opened for the 1962 season and which will be replaced by a new gym next fall, the No. 3 Scorps held off No. 14 Los Alamos 53-40 in the first round of the 5A state tournament tonight.

The win also marked the 100th career victory for Paul Corley as Farmington's head coach.

"When I got the job, I knew it was an honor to coach here because of all the success of the program, especially in this gym. It's been here since '62, and when you look around, there's a lot of history," Corley said. "I'm really humbled to have been able to coach here for five years."

The victory was far from a sure thing for the Scorps, who struggled to get anything going on offense in the first half.

The Hilltoppers presented a difficult matchup for Farmington with their size in the paint and kept the Scorps from getting clean looks when they attacked the basket.

Farmington trailed 25-18 at halftime.

On the first possession of the third quarter, the Scorps and their fans finally got to breathe a sigh of relief. Senior guard Nick Granger got a look at a 3, and after the ball took four bounces on the rim, it finally fell through.

Farmington's Keaton Christy drives past Los Alamos' Jack Stewart on Saturday at Scorpion Gym.

"That was definitely a good turnaround for us," Granger said of the 3-pointer. "That's what got us going, and we didn't look back from there."

The 3-pointer was the start of a 12-0 Farmington run to give the Scorps their first significant lead of the game midway through the quarter.

But LA answered, outscoring Farmington 13-4 the rest of the quarter. The two teams went into the fourth tied at 34.

Farmington pulled away in the final five minutes, outscoring the Hilltoppers 12-3 behind a great effort at the free-throw line, going 12 for 14 in the fourth and 20 for 26 on the night.

Farmington will face No. 6 Los Lunas in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at The Pit in Albuquerque.

"We're not done," Granger said. "We have some unfinished business on Wednesday at The Pit and through the rest of the week."

Roswell 71, Bloomfield 66

Bloomfield pushed No. 1 Roswell to the brink in the first round of the 5A state tournament, trailing 64-62 with 43 seconds remaining, but the No. 16 Bobcats couldn't pull off the stunner and fell 71-66 today in Roswell.

"The kids did a great job today. The biggest thing was communication and teamwork on defense. They really bought in on having to sell out on defense to stop Roswell," Bloomfield coach Randy Crockett said. "On offense, we executed and played really, really well. I couldn't be more proud of these kids."

It was just the sixth time in 22 victories this season that the Coyotes failed to win by double digits.

The Bobcats hit 10 3-pointers in the game.

Adriano Stevenson led the way with 19 points. Ty Padilla added 17, and Brendon Charley finished with 15.

Silver 52, Navajo Prep 38

Navajo Prep had trouble matching up with the athleticism of No. 3 Silver and fell to the Colts 52-38 in the first round of the 4A state tournament today in Silver City.

"We had it within 6 points twice in the fourth and had a chance to cut it to four twice but missed a pair of free throws and a layup. We kept it within 6 to 10 points for about 80 percent of the game," Prep coach Rick Hoerner said. "For us to go in there as a 14 seed, we gave them a scare, that's for sure."

Hoerner said freshman point guard Thomas Montanez did a good job of handling the pressure of playing in a state tourney game, and junior Tyler Pete kept the Eagles in the game during the first half with high-energy play.

Hoerner said he was impressed with everything the Eagles accomplished this year by making the state tourney in the school's first year of playing in 4A.

"In my 15 years of varsity coaching, this is one of the character group of guys I've seen," Hoerner said. "What they accomplished is tremendous, and I'm very proud of them."

Portales 74, Shiprock 57

No. 15 Shiprock gave everything it had, but just couldn't find a way past No. 2 Portales today, falling to the Rams 74-57 in the first round of the 4A state tournament today in Portales.

"We gave it our best effort and gave them all we could, but (Portales) is a good ball club. That's why they're the No. 2 seed," Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty said.

The Chieftains had success against the Rams when they pushed the tempo and controlled the pace of the game. But Portales could calm things down and slow the game to the tempo it's comfortable with enough to take control of the game.

Shiprock was balanced offensively, getting 7 or more points from five players. Arvin Begay led the way with 11 points while Landon Hendrson and Kieon Harvey added 10 apiece.

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