BASKETBALL

Lady Broncos soar to 13-0 after routing Goddard for tournament title

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − The Kirtland Central High School girls basketball team earned their third tournament championship of the season Thursday night, rolling over Goddard in the championship game of the Goddard Holiday Classic by a final of 59-26.

Meantime, the Navajo Prep boys basketball team came up short in the Poe Corn Tournament championship game at Roswell High, losing to the Coyotes by a final score of 51-48.

Here's a recap of tournament action for teams from San Juan County.

Girls Basketball

KIRTLAND CENTRAL 59, Goddard 26

The Kirtland Central High School girls basketball team outscored Goddard 40-11 in the second half to earn their third tournament title of the season Thursday night, crushing the host team 59-26 in the championship game of the Goddard Holiday Classic.

The victory keeps the Lady Broncos record perfect this season after 13 games, and sets up a showdown at home Tuesday night when they face the 10-1 Farmington High Lady Scorpions in what could be the best matchup of the season for both teams.

Kirtland Central, ranked fourth overall in the state by MaxPreps and the top-ranked team in Class 4A by a wide margin, have already taken home the top prize in tournaments at Moriarty High School earlier this month and in the opening week of the regular season in Page, Arizona.

The Lady Broncos went into the locker room leading 19-15 at the half before coming out with a sense of urgency, outscoring the Lady Rockets 19-8 in the third quarter before running away with the contest in the 21-3 advantage in the final frame.

"Overall, we played well, and we got challenged this weekend," said Kirtland Central head coach Devon Manning. "It was a very physical weekend."

In addition to their 13-game win streak this season, the Lady Broncos have now won 24 straight dating back to last season, which was capped off by a Class 4A state championship win at the Pit in Albuquerque over Bernalillo.

ROCK POINT 35, Aztec 14

The Aztec High School girls basketball team struggled from the floor, scoring only three points in the first half of a 35-14 loss at home to Rock Point (Ariz.) Thursday night in the second round of the Rumble in the Jungle Tournament.

After winning their opening round game of the tournament on Wednesday over Wingate by a final of 38-31, the Lady Tigers were outscored 15-3 at the end of the first half and never recovered, losing for the third time in their last four games.

Aztec's Nika McKenzie is fouled on a layup by Rock Point's Arianne Begay in the first quarter of the Rumble In The Jungle semifinal game on Thursday, December 29, 2022 at Aztec High's Lillywhite Gym.

Rock Point was led by Arianne Begay's 15 points, most of which came from behind the 3-point line, where she made three long-distance jumpers. Aztec, which didn't get on the board until midway through the second quarter, was led by Nika McKenzie and Brooke Calvert, who scored four points apiece.

The Lady Cougars (9-1) will play for the tournament title Friday at 6 p.m. when they face Grants. The Lady Pirates advanced to the finals after a 58-42 win over St. Michael's (Ariz.)

The Lady Tigers (3-8) will face off against St. Michael's Friday at 3 p.m.

Boys Basketball

ROSWELL 51, Navajo Prep 48

The Roswell High School boys basketball team overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to rally for an impressive 51-48 win over previously unbeaten Navajo Prep the championship game of the Poe Corn Tournament Thursday night at the Roswell Gym.

The Coyotes, led by Rylan Sarracino's 14 points, rallied in the third quarter to take the lead before fighting off a stubborn Eagles squad, who fought back to tie the game with under a minute to go.

Jerry Burrola's pair of free throws in the game's final moments sealed the win for Roswell, which advanced to the finals after a blowout 76-32 win on Wednesday over Lovington. The Coyotes (7-6) got 12 points from Ivan Miramontes in the win.

For Navajo Prep, they were led by Jude Thomas, who scored 16 points as well as Orion King, who scored 12 points.

The Eagles (9-1), who came into the tournament as the top-ranked team in Class 3A according to MaxPreps, suffered their first loss of the campaign and will resume their regular season on the road on Tuesday when they visit Grants.

AZTEC 61, Wingate 51

The Aztec High School boys basketball team rebounded nicely off an opening round loss on Wednesday with a 61-51 win Thursday night over Wingate in consolation round action of the Rumble in the Jungle Tournament at Lillywhite Gym.

Aztec's Jedidiah Jones goes up against Wingate's Arwin Thompson in the fourth quarter during consolation bracket round of the Rumble In The Jungle tournament on Thursday, December 29, 2022 at Lillywhite Gym.

The Tigers (2-10) snapped a four-game losing streak with Thursday's victory, advancing to a consolation championship clash on Friday at 1:30 p.m. against St. Michael's (Ariz.)

"We got the offense working and played pressure defense," said Aztec head coach Ryan Dee. "It was a real team effort."

CLEVELAND 79, Farmington 49

The Cleveland High School boys basketball team rolled in the second half, outscoring Farmington 45-26 on their way to a convincing 79-49 rout over the Scorpions in a second round game of the Holiday Classic Tournament at Hobbs High School.

The Scorpions, which have lost three straight games, will wrap up the tournament on Friday before heading home to resume their regular season. With a record of 5-5, Farmington will open up the calendar year on Tuesday at home against Shiprock.