Visiting teams take home top prize in Aztec High hoops tournament

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC − Prep basketball teams from Arizona and Texas took home championship trophies over the weekend after winning Aztec High School's Rumble in the Jungle tournaments at Lillywhite Gym.

Meantime, both the boys and girls teams from Aztec High finished off the tournaments on winning notes, securing victories in consolation round matches in their final games of the 2022 calendar year.

Here's a recap of basketball tournament action from Friday.

Boys basketball

Rumble in the Jungle

The Bel Air (Texas) High School boys basketball team claimed the championship of the Rumble in the Jungle Tournament with a runaway 67-48 win Friday night over Rock Point (Arizona).

The Highlanders (13-4) were never seriously threatened in each of their three games during the tournament, winning their opening round clash over Laguna-Acoma by a score of 83-37 before winning their second round game over Newcomb 75-51. Bel Air has now won five straight games.

Bel Air's Zach Martinez puts up a shot against Newcomb's LaDainian John in the second quarter of Rumble In The Jungle boys semifinal game at Aztec High's Lillywhite Gym on Thursday.

In the consolation championship game, the Aztec Tigers routed St. Michael's (Ariz.) for the title, giving the boys team their second straight win and heading into 2023 on a positive note.

The Tigers lost their opening round game of the tournament on Wednesday to Rock Point but rebounded nicely to give the team some momentum heading back to the regular season.

"We're coming together like I always believed we would. I'm really proud of their effort and ability to stay together and overcome adversity," said Aztec head coach Ryan Dee.

Aztec (3-10) will get a much-needed break before resuming the season on Tuesday, Jan. 10 when they host Pojoaque Valley.

The Newcomb High School boys team earned third place in the tournament, defeating Valley (Arizona) by a final score of 53-48.

Hobbs Holiday Tournament

The Farmington High School boys basketball team wrapped up a tough weekend with a 67-60 win in the consolation round over Ferris (Texas) High in tournament action at Hobbs High School.

After opening the tournament earlier in the week with back-to-back losses to Spring Valley (Nevada) and Cleveland High, the Scorpions rallied to snap a three-game losing streak and come home with a winning record heading back into the regular season.

Farmington will be busy this week, hosting Shiprock on Tuesday night before opening up tournament action yet again on Thursday when they hit the road to face Sandia Prep.

Girls basketball

ROCK POINT 52, Grants 33

The Rock Point (Arizona) Lady Cougars improved to 10-1 on the season after a convincing 52-33 win in the championship game of the Lady Tiger Rumble in the Jungle Tournament at Lillywhite Gym.

Rock Point advanced to the finals after beating the host team 35-14 in the second round of the tournament. The Lady Cougars are the defending AIA girls basketball state champions in Conference 1A after capping off a 19-1 season last spring with a title contest win over Fort Thomas.

The Aztec Lady Tigers rebounded from their second-round loss in the tournament with a 34-31 win Friday over St. Michael's (Arizona) to lock up third place.

Trailing by a point coming out of the locker room after the first half, Aztec came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Cardinals 14-9 before securing the win in the final quarter.

The Lady Tigers (4-8) will be back on the road Tuesday when they travel to Taos for a scheduled 6 p.m. tipoff.