Lady Broncos roll in tournament title game, improve to 8-0

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − The Kirtland Central High School girls basketball team took another step toward defending their Class 4A state championship, sweeping their competition in the Alice King Tournament at Moriarty High School.

Meanwhile, tournament action wrapped up for several local and area teams over the weekend. Here's a recap of the basketball action from around the state.

Girls basketball

Lady Broncos remain unbeaten after rolling over Melrose

The Kirtland Central High School girls basketball team earned their second tournament title this season and are one of the few remaining unbeaten teams in the state after a resounding 89-53 win Saturday night over Melrose High in the championship game of the Moriarty Tournament.

The win culminated a three-day event, in which the Lady Broncos stormed past Pojoaque Valley 50-5 on Thursday, followed by a second round 67-28 win Friday over Bernalillo. They outscored their three opponents this weekend by a combined score of 206-86.

Kirtland Central's Jaylene Harris-Rhea makes her way to the basket past Shiprock's Kirsten Kelewood in the second quarter of their district basketball playoff game, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at Bronco Arena.

The Lady Broncos were led by Kiera Beall-Gleason, Aaryanna Lansing and Jaylene Harris-Rhea, who were each named to the all-tournament team for the Lady Broncos.

"I thought our guard play was better this weekend, and it's hard to complain about wins," said Kirtland Central head coach Devon Manning. "We still have plenty of things to work on to get better and we still aren't where we have to be."

The tournament title is the second this season for the Kirtland Central squad, which earlier this month took home the championship in the Lake Powell Holiday Classic in Page, Ariz. The Lady Broncos (8-0) are the only unbeaten team remaining in Class 4A this season in girls basketball and will put that fast start to the test on Tuesday night at home against Montezuma-Cortez.

Lady Scorpions fall short against Volcano Vista

The Volcano Vista High School girls basketball team earned a hard-fought 62-56 win over Farmington High on Saturday night in the finals of the Joe Armijo Albuquerque Academy Tournament.

The Lady Hawks were led by junior Taejhuan Hill, who dropped 27 points on the Lady Scorpions to earn the hard-fought win.

The Lady Scorpions led the game 28-26 at halftime, and only trailed by a 45-43 margin heading into the final frame. Volcano Vista outscored Farmington 17-13 in the fourth quarter to earn the tournament title.

"It was a great game, back and forth the entire time," said Farmington coach Tom Adair. "We just need to keep working and getting better."

The game was a rematch of last season's Class 5A semifinal clash between the two schools which took place last March at the Pit in Albuquerque. The Lady Hawks won that game on their way to completing an unbeaten season and winning the Class 5A state title.

Farmington and Volcano Vista are scheduled to play at least once more this season, with the Lady Hawks hosting Farmington on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Kapiolani Anitielu, who scored a combined 61 points in the three tournament games, was named the most valuable player of the weekend. Sister Kamalani Anitielu, who dropped 62 during the three games, was also named to the all-tournament team.

The loss is the first of the season for the Lady Scorpions, who drop to 8-1 on the campaign after having posted recent wins over Cleveland High and Mayfield High during the first two games of the tournament. Farmington will be home Tuesday night to face off against Aztec.

Lady Eagles stumble against Hobbs

The Navajo Prep girls basketball team saw their bid for a second tournament title this season fall short on Saturday night after losing to Hobbs by a final of 65-27 in the championship game of the Al Armendariz Classic at Capital High School in Santa Fe.

The Lady Eagles (6-2) came into the championship game after recording back-to-back wins over both Espanola Valley and Pecos earlier in the week.

Hobbs, one of the top Class 5A teams in the state and coming off a championship game appearance last season against Volcano Vista, wasted little time putting away the Lady Eagles, who have won the Class 3A state title in two of the last three seasons.

Navajo Prep was held scoreless in the second quarter and went into the locker room trailing 38-12. The win improves Hobbs' record this season to 6-1 while having won four in a row.

The Lady Eagles only two losses this season have come at the hands of some of the top 5A teams in the state. Last week, Navajo Prep lost at home against Farmington before the loss to Hobbs.

The Lady Eagles will be home Friday night when they face Escalante for the second time this season. The teams met earlier this month in the Lady Chieftain Invitational at Shiprock High School with Navajo Prep winning that game handily by a score of 60-39.

Boys basketball

Kirtland Central storms past Aztec

The Kirtland Central boys basketball team wrapped up their action in the Al Armendariz Classic at Capital High School on Saturday with a third-round consolation bracket victory over district rival Aztec, 77-47.

Led by Satchel Hogue's 23 points, the Broncos also got a big scoring night from Jarvis Mullahon, Jr., who dropped 15 on the Tigers in the victory. Hogue was named to the all-tournament team, having scored more than 60 points in three games during the event.

Kirtland Central's Satchel Hogue (left) drives to the basket against Farmington's Marcos Araiza during a game at Bronco Arena, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.

Kirtland overcame a first-round defeat in the tournament, losing to Pojoaque Valley by a score of 65-40 on Thursday before bouncing back on Friday with a resounding consolation bracket win over Tohatchi by a score of 70-44.

"These were great bounce-back wins for us," said Broncos coach Brian Dowdy. "An overall really great team weekend."

The Broncos (5-3) will be back in action on Friday at Bronco Arena to tackle Navajo Prep.

NAVAJO PREP 75, Shiprock 20

The Navajo Prep boys basketball team rolled to victory on Saturday night, storming into the Chieftain Arena and beating Shiprock by a final of 75-20.

The win improves Navajo Prep's record on the season to 5-0, with an average margin of victory at more than 33 points per game.

The Chieftains fall to 2-4 on the season and will hope to bounce back on Thursday when they begin play in the Marv Sanders Invitational at Scorpion Arena to face off with Chaparral (Colo). High. The Eagles will visit Kirtland Central on Friday night for a game against the Broncos.