SHIPROCK — The Shiprock girls basketball team won 29 straight games last season, and now, four Lady Chieftains have to decided to continue their careers together in college.
Aranxta Curley, Shania Harry, Ashley John and Courtney Steele signed to play for Northern New Mexico College in Española on Wednesday at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.
From the beginning of the basketball season, Shiprock girls head coach Larenson Henderson wanted his team to focus on teamwork. Henderson said he believes the four players were rewarded because of their ability to play together.
"I hope this starts a trend for our upcoming players," Henderson said. "I'm excited for them, and they made me very proud this year."
The Eagles program will get a quartet of players who will be able to fill a variety of roles on the court.
Harry provides a guard with solid 3-point shooting ability. Curley and John can fill either a guard or forward role, and Steele adds a post player with good rebounding ability.
Harry said playing together as a team is why all four got the offer to play in college.
"We're just really comfortable playing together, and I think that's what the coaches saw," she said.
All four helped the Lady Chiefs defensively, running Henderson's press to perfection throughout the season.
The players say they look forward to playing basketball together.
"We've been playing together since seventh grade, and now that we get to move on to college together, it's going to be a fun season for us," Curley said.
The four seniors believe their time at Shiprock played a key role in helping them graduate to playing college basketball.
Steele said none the players could play at the college level without help from the coaches in the Shiprock program.
John said they will be ready for the challenge of playing a higher level of competition.
"It's going to be a great adventure," she said.
NNMC plays in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as an Independent. The school's girls basketball team began play in 2009.
The Eagles finished last season with a 9-20 record.