5 takeaways from hoops season so far

Matt Hollinshead, mhollinshead@daily-times.com
Bloomfield's Halle Payne drives toward the basket against Feleena Gabaldon of Los Lunas during Tuesday's game at Bobcat Gym.

FHS boys’ defense dominant so far

Five games into the Jay Collins era, the Scorpions are surrendering just 49.6 points per game entering tonight.

But here’s the striking part: FHS is averaging just 18.6 points allowed in the second half alone.

FHS is really kicking its full-court press into high gear after halftime.

The Scorpions are disrupting foes’ shots and shot selections. They’re also limiting space from baseline to baseline, front to back, left and right - quickly wearing teams down in the process.

Bloomfield’s Halle Payne carrying offense

The Lady Bobcats shooting guard is the only key returner from last year’s state finals run.

Eight seniors from that team graduated, and Bloomfield’s struggling to get scoring production from its less experienced group this year.

Payne, who can lead the charge scoring in transition and attacking the paint, is putting up double-figure numbers on a regular basis.

PV boys showing promise on defense

The Panthers are now under the guidance of a defensive-minded coach in Brady Rivers, who spent the previous two years coaching the Farmington girls.

PV is averaging just 42.5 points allowed per game entering tonight.

Rivers said during last weekend’s Marv Sanders Invitational the Panthers aren’t ready to implement his 1-3-1 matchup zone scheme, but they’re playing man-to-man to ensure they have a solid approach to lean on as the long season (and games) continues.

The ongoing challenge, Rivers said, is being able to get stops consistently without fouling opponents.

PV girls’ rise continues

The Lady Panthers, coming off two state quarterfinals appearances in three years, are off to another strong start at 4-1 entering tonight.

And they’ve already started building a decent resume in the first 10 days alone. They beat 5A foe Alamogordo in the Joe Lomasney Invitational semifinals last Friday, and they’ll open the Rio Rancho tournament tonight against 5A foe and girls basketball heavyweight Las Cruces.

PV is stacked with talent, from Elaina Watson and Celina Watson to Reagan Schmidt and Lanae Billy.

The team’s built to win now — and for the foreseeable future.

Farmington girls’ strong start no surprise

FHS is 5-0 entering tonight’s game at Shiprock, and it starts with the man at the helm in coach Larenson Henderson.

The Lady Scorpions are off to a blistering start on defense, averaging just 33.8 points allowed per game going into tonight. They’re playing fast on the baseline, forcing teams to rush plays and take hurried shots.

Henderson’s fast-break system on the scoring end is still a bit new for FHS, but it’s had some big moments scoring in transition.

And Farmington’s better days are still to come, as its home opener against Aztec isn’t until Tuesday. The home opener will also start a crucial time in the season: seven of Farmington’s final 12 non-District games will be at Scorpion Arena.

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