SHIPROCK — Last March, Taylor Henderson was leading Kirtland Central to a 4A state title.
But on Tuesday night, Henderson scored 21 points for Shiprock as the Lady Chiefs defeated the Kirtland Central 53-35 in the Chieftain Pit.
The junior guard said the game felt like a scrimmage with her old teammates.
"It felt like how I used to play against them in practice," Henderson said. "They were good tonight."
After the game went into the half tied at 22, Shiprock outscored Kirtland 18-1 in the third quarter to put the game away.
Henderson scored seven of her 21 points in the quarter and Shania Harry added six of her eight points during the Lady Chief run.
Shiprock (1-1) stepped up its full-court pressure coming out of halftime, forcing the Lady Broncos (2-3) to turn the ball over on numerous occasions.
"We were double teaming them," said Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson. "We went into a press and their guards couldn't handle the traps. We got a lot of turnovers and went down and scored some layups."
Kirtland expected the on-ball pressure from the Lady Chiefs coming in, but head coach Kevin Holman said his team still wasn't able to handle it.
"We worked on that press all day yesterday in practice," Holman said. "We just kind of folded up. We have to get better at it."
After the loss, Holman said he wished his former player and assistant coach the best this season.
"She's tough," Holman said. "We miss her. She's a great lady and coach Henderson is a great man. Anytime one of your assistants can get a head coaching job, you're more than happy for them."
The Lady Chiefs opened a
14-10 lead in the first quarter with the help of two Henderson 3-pointers.
Kirtland fought back with an 8-2 run in the opening 3:20 of the second quarter to tie the game
22-22 heading into halftime.
Shiprock hit six 3-pointers in the game, including five from Henderson.
Jennifer Hastings, Andrea Marris and Orquidea Reyes each scored seven points to lead Kirtland.
The Lady Broncos will play next against Clovis in Gallup's Tournament on Thursday.
Shiprock will host the Lady Chieftain Invitational beginning Thursday.