Defense keeping Lady Scorps' playoff hopes alive

Matt Hollinshead,
Farmington's Jordan Vasquez, No. 25 in white, steals the ball from Aztec's Reigan Weaver, No. 32 in black, during the first quarter of Saturday's District 1-5A game at Scorpion Arena.

FARMINGTON – The Farmington girls basketball team has had moments this season where its defense can invoke frustration in others.

Playing in a 1-3-1 matchup zone with some man and half-court trap schemes thrown into the mix, the Lady Scorpions zero in on the inside passing lanes, all while forcing opposing shooters to try attacking from the outside corners. 

FHS players tilt their arms up and down, left and right, waiting to swipe at an incoming pass down the middle.

It's kept the Scorpions in games, giving them hope they can secure a spot in the 5A state playoffs. Farmington (9-15, 2-6), alongside several other teams, is in the race for that No. 16 spot.

"I think we've done a good job at times in the zone of clogging up the middle and coming up hard. If we can get (opponents) to take quick shots, that's an advantage for us as well," coach Brady Rivers said. "We pull the forwards up sometimes. So when (opponents) look to catch and shoot, they're expecting a guard to get there. They turn, and a forward's standing there."

FHS has relied on its defense to also set up fast-break scoring chances, and even get some fresh possessions in to help reset whenever the offense may stall.

Whenever Farmington gets key stops inside and sets up scoring chances from there, FHS is convinced it can go toe-to-toe with anyone.

"We have taller players that can get in there and get a body on someone. Every defensive stop helps," junior forward Jordan Vasquez said.

Despite averaging just 43.6 points scored per game, Farmington's allowing just 43.9 points per game.

"If we can keep those scores low, we'll give ourselves an opportunity to win any game," Rivers said.

As long as the Scorpions are containing other teams on defense, they have a chance to not only stay in games, but also keep their playoff hopes alive.

"It definitely helps win tight games. If we have really good defense, it really pushes us to win in those last minutes," Vasquez said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.