SHIPROCK — Shiprock boys and girls basketball teams took a home sweep of one of their rivals on Friday night.
The Shiprock Lady Chieftains improved to 12-0 this season with a 74-49 victory against Monument Valley, Ariz. The Shiprock boys defeated Monument Valley 73-64 in a back-and-forth game to move to 9-3 overall.
"It is an awesome feeling to beat a good program like Monument Valley," said Shiprock boys coach Chester H. Atcitty Jr. "They have several banners hanging in their gym to prove how tough they are. It is a good rivalry, so it is always good to win."
Solid free-throw shooting helped the Shiprock boys march to victory on Friday night at home in the Chieftain Pit. The Chieftains were 15-of-20 from the free-throw line in the game -- including 11-of-15 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
"We executed and did what we wanted to do down the stretch there. We did an awesome job getting inside and penetrating," Atcitty said.
Four Chieftains finished the game in double-figures scoring. Deron Johnson led the way with 23 points. Hiram Gleason added another 20 points in the win. Rookie Hoskie chipped in 11 more points, and Justin Begay finished with 10.
"All of the guys had to work for it. It was an awesome job," Atcitty said.
The Chieftains trailed 52-49 at halftime. Atcitty said the team came together in the locker room at the half and focused on toughening up its defense.
"There were tough moments in the game where it got down a tad bit, but we responded well and came back. We had trouble in the beginning of the game, but we started pulling it together before halftime," he said. "In these tight ball games, it comes down to who will respond the best and play under tight situations."
The Shiprock girls took a big lead in the first half against Monument Valley. The Lady Chiefs carried a 57-38 lead into the fourth quarter and finished the game strong to win 73-49.
The Lady Chieftains play again on Tuesday at Piedra Vista. The Shiprock boys also play on the road Tuesday at Miyamura.
Shiprock girls head coach Larenson Henderson did not return calls for comment by press time on Friday.John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.