Shiprock High’s Aranxta Curley (20) shoots in a game against Hope Christian in the 3A state playoff semifinals on Thursday at The Pit in Albuquerque.
Shiprock High's Aranxta Curley (20) shoots in a game against Hope Christian in the 3A state playoff semifinals on Thursday at The Pit in Albuquerque. (Curtis Ray Benally/Special to The Daily Times)
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ALBUQUERQUE The Shiprock girls basketball team is one win from a championship.

The No. 1 Lady Chieftains blew out No. 4 Hope Christian 63-36 in the 3A state playoff semifinals on Thursday at The Pit in Albuquerque.

The win earned Shiprock a spot in the 3A title game for the first time in three years.

"They really didn't make any adjustments to us," Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson said of Hope, who his team also defeated 51-35 on Jan. 18 this season.

The aggressive Shiprock defense gave the Lady Huskies (22-8) problems the entire game, forcing 28 turnovers and holding Hope to 31 percent from the field.

"That's just a solid, solid team," Hope head coach Terry Heisey said. "They're just too good."

Shiprock High’s Courtney Steele (41) shoots over Hope Christian in the 3A state playoff semifinals on Thursday at The Pit in Albuquerque.
Shiprock High's Courtney Steele (41) shoots over Hope Christian in the 3A state playoff semifinals on Thursday at The Pit in Albuquerque. (Curtis Ray Benally/Special to The Daily Times)

It took Shiprock (29-0) about four minutes into the game to finally hit its first field goal, but that basket sparked an 11-0 Lady Chiefs run to end the first quarter.

Shiprock led the rest of game and had the margin in double figures for the entire second half.

Six Lady Chiefs put at least six points on the board in a balanced offensive attack.

"That's one thing that makes it so fun coaching these girls. They can put the ball in the hole," Henderson said.

Shania Harry scored a team-high 11 point in the win. Taylor Henderson added 10 for the Lady Chiefs.

The majority of the Hope offense came from the free-throw line, where the Lady Huskies converted 20-of-34 attempts.

Shelby Perry scored 10 points to lead Hope in the loss.

The Lady Chiefs' five senior starters are looking forward to the opportunity of bring the title back to Shiprock.

"I think it's awesome. We all grew up together playing basketball," Shiprock forward Courtney Steele said.

Shiprock will face No. 3 Portales at 3:30 p.m. today for the state championship.

"Portales has had their game going," Henderson said.

Portales advanced with a 54-46 win against No. 2 Lovington.

The last time Shiprock won a state girls basketball title was in 2002, when the team defeated Portales that season in the final.

Shiprock also has a chance to complete the second undefeated season in school history, matching the accomplishment of the 1989 Lady Chiefs.

The Lady Chiefs have made two title game appearances since their last championship, losing in 2010 and 2011.

Joshua Perry cover sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and jperry@daily-times.com. Follow him @jperrysuu on Twitter.