FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista girls basketball team remained unbeaten in district play but had to fend off a late Farmington High charge to do so.
The Lady Panthers survived an 11-0 Lady Scorps' run early in the fourth quarter to escape Scorpion Gym with a 53-47 win on Saturday night.
"We've had that problem of closing out games and not putting games away," PV head coach Joe Reed said. "We just reminded the girls during timeouts that we still had the lead and to be patient."
After the game entered halftime tied at 23, the Lady Panthers (15-8, 3-0 District 1-4A) controlled the entire third quarter, outscoring FHS (12-11, 2-1) 19-5 to open up a 42-28 lead.
Kieyoomia Benally scored seven of her team-high 17 points in the quarter to help the Lady Panthers get some breathing room.
"(Benally) took the game over. As she goes, we go," Reed said. "Teams like to double Kaleigh (Graham), and that's what was happening. They were worried about her on the inside and (Benally) did her thing."
Benally hit two of her three 3-pointers in the third quarter.
"Once I get going, I feel comfortable out there, and I'll just keep shooting," she said.
FHS head coach Danny Secrest said the slow start out of the halftime break ended up costing his team in the end.
"I thought we just played a little lethargic in the third, but they played good defense so give them credit," Secrest said.
The 3-0 start to district play puts the Lady Panthers in good position to capture their first district title in school history.
"I think it would be awesome for the team. The girls want more people at the games for district," Benally said.
Precious Frank scored 11 points for PV, and Graham added 10 more in the victory.
Shayna Carlowe hit 6-of-10 from the field on her way to a game-high 18 points in the loss for FHS.
Carlowe was the only Lady Scorp in double figures as the rest of the team went just 12-of-39 from the field.
Both teams will be off until Saturday when PV hosts Aztec and FHS travels to Kirtland Central.
"The second half, we'll take it one game at a time. We've played two close games in a row, and we can't overlook anybody," Reed said.
Secrest expects his team to come out ready to play with the chance of earning a bid to the state tournament on the line.
"I think we'll have to play well wherever we go now," he said.Joshua Perry can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.