Shiprock High School’s Courtney Steele (41) and Robertson High School’s Abbey Bradley (4)  battle for the rebound on Tuesday during the 3A
Shiprock High School's Courtney Steele (41) and Robertson High School's Abbey Bradley (4) battle for the rebound on Tuesday during the 3A quarterfinals at The Pit in Albuquerque. (Jesse Hankins -- Special to The Daily Times)
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ALBUQUERQUE — The Shiprock girls basketball team is moving on to the 3A semifinals for the second straight season.

The No. 1 Lady Chieftains dispatched Robertson 61-32 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at The Pit in Albuquerque.

After falling behind 9-3 in the first four minutes, Shiprock (28-0) used a 16-1 run over the next eight minutes to pull away from the Lady Cardinals (15-15).

"I think the jitters were there, but sometimes, the game just plays (out) that way," said Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson.

The Lady Chiefs held Robertson without a field goal for the entire second quarter. The Lady Cardinals went 0-for-5 from the field and committed seven turnovers as Shiprock took a 28-12 lead into halftime.

"In that second quarter, we started to see them breathing heavy, and I said, 'OK, we got this,'" Henderson said.

Robertson head coach Beatrice Gallegos said Shiprock cut off the middle of the floor and forced the Lady Cardinals to rush their offense.

"The girls just didn't know how to respond," Gallegos said. "We stayed on the outside. Instead of continuing to push the ball, we took a backseat and didn't continue to take it at them."

Shiprock cruised through the second half and never led by less than 14 points for the rest of the game.

Tanisha Begay led Shiprock with 12 points on 4-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range.

"It felt good going in there and stepping up," Begay said.

Taylor Henderson added 10 points in the win, including two 3-pointers in the first quarter.

"From the beginning, coach says stay consistent on your shots, and I was just trying to stay consistent," she said.

While Shiprock's offense didn't have its best night — shooting 41 percent from the field and committing 19 turnovers — the defense made sure the game was never in doubt.

Robertson was held to 12-of-41 from the field (29 percent) and committed 28 turnovers.

Shiprock High School’s Ashley John (33) shoots over Robertson High School’s Chantel Sena (20) on Tuesday during the 3A quarterfinals  at The
Shiprock High School's Ashley John (33) shoots over Robertson High School's Chantel Sena (20) on Tuesday during the 3A quarterfinals at The Pit in Albuquerque. (Jesse Hankins -- Special to The Daily Times)

"That was the main thing we said before the game — to capitalize on the defense and rebounding," Larenson Henderson said. "The girls did a great job. We applied so much pressure, and we're great at it."

The Lady Chiefs will advance to the semifinals, where they'll face No. 4 Hope Christian on Thursday.

The Lady Huskies (22-7) won their quarterfinal against No. 5 West Las Vegas 57-40 on Tuesday.

Shiprock and Hope Christian met once earlier in the season when the Lady Chiefs beat the Lady Huskies 51-35 on Jan. 18 in the final of the Hope Christian Invite.

Shiprock also will look for a little revenge against the Lady Huskies after they knocked the Lady Chiefs out of the playoffs in the semifinals with a 65-55 victory a season ago.

"It's going to be an up-and-down game again," Larenson Henderson said of the matchup with Hope. "We're not going to take them lightly. They have freshmen on their team. I tell the girls that we're seniors and we can overpower them. The next few years I think Hope is going to be tough."

In the other half of the bracket, No. 2 Lovington and No. 3 Portales advanced and will meet up in the semifinals on Thursday, with the winner facing the Shiprock/Hope winner.

Joshua Perry can be reached at jperry@daily-times.com; 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.