Navajo Prep and Navajo Pine will clash in a pre-district contest tonight in the second round of the NMAIC after both teams took first-round wins.
Piedra Vista (5-7) fell to Navajo Pine (5-0) 48-45 in overtime Friday night in Navajo. The Lady Warriors collected several turnovers in the game, building a sizable lead through much of the game.
Trailing 14 points with three and a half minutes to play, Piedra Vista mounted a comeback to tie the game at 39 with just 3.5 seconds left in regulation.
However, poor free-throw shooting at turnovers once again cost the Lady Panthers in overtime, as Navajo Pine closed out the game.
“We put pressure on and finally started playing hard those last few minutes of the fourth. We haven’t been doing that and we have to find a way to get more confidence,” said PV head coach Mike Christie. “Turnovers killed us, and Pine didn’t even pressure us that much. We just threw it away.”
Christie cited the Lady Panthers’ 13-for-26 shooting at the free-throw line as the team’s downfall in the game, noting the team went 1-for-4 in overtime while the Lady Warriors went 15-for-21 from the line in the game.
Kaleigh Graham had 16 points and 16 rebounds in the loss for PV while Claudia Charles also scored 11 points for the Lady Panthers.
At the Eagle’s Nest in Farmington, Navajo Prep (4-3) came back from an early deficit to defeat Crownpoint 68-50.
After a two-week break from competitive games, the Navajo Prep showed some rust before putting away Crownpoint.
“We started very slow. It really showed that we hadn’t played in two weeks,” said Navajo Prep head coach Rainy Crisp. “Crownpoint came in very strong. We went down 10 or 12 points early, but that is what we needed going into a game against Navajo Pine.”
Pine and Prep, District 1-2A foes, will square off at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
Crisp is glad to have an early look at Pine before games count toward district standings.
“There is always a good competition between us. Seeing them this early will really help us prepare and gauge where we are at this point,” Crisp said. “Being rivals, both teams will come out strong and ready to play. It should be a really good game.”
A slow start frustrated Shiprock head coach Chester H. Atcitty Jr., but a 27-point third quarter helped ease the tension.
Navajo Prep (2-5) fought hard in the first half of the game Thursday at the Chieftain Pit against Shiprock (9-2), but the Chieftains came out with a 74-40 win in the opening round of the NMAIC.
“We pulled it off, but for awhile it was close,” Atcitty said. “The first quarter was too close, but we got 27 points right off the bat in the third quarter.”
The Chieftains scored the majority of those points on the run as Eagle turnovers resulted in fast-break points.
Justin Begay led Shiprock with 17 points. Hiram Gleason also scored 12 for the Chieftains.
Though the team struggled early, Atcitty said the team can also use Thursday’s game as a lesson moving forward.
“It would be nice to come out and play hard all the time, but I don’t want the guys to peak too early, either,” he said. “This is an opportunity for us to regress and then put it back together. It is hard for any high school team to win every game and every quarter.”