The road only gets tougher from here as the two Shiprock squads will have to face strong competition in the quarterfinals.
The No. 4 Chieftains boys (23-5) knocked off No. 13 Ruidoso 65-46 on Saturday to set up a contest with No. 5 Portales on Wednesday at the Santa Ana Star Center.
The Rams (18-10) — like the Chieftains — won their district title, beating Lovington 61-58 in the District 4-3A final.
Ruidoso head coach Dennis Davis is quite familiar with the Rams, after his team lost a pair of one-point games to Portales during the district season, and said Shiprock's aggressive style of play will make for an interesting game in the quarters.
"They are able to pressure us and make it difficult offensively for us," Davis said of the Chieftains. "They may be at a little bit higher level."
Both teams thrive on a balanced offesnsive attack.
The Chieftains had three players score in double figures in their first round victory, while the Rams had six players score at least six points in their win over No. 12 West Las Vegas.
Shiprock junior Justin Begay, who scored a game-high 19 points in the win over Ruidoso, believes that playing the Warriors will benefit the Chieftains in the matchup against Portales.
"We never really play teams from down south, so we got a feel for what it's like playing a team from down south, and we're ready to go," Begay said.
The No. 4 Lady
The victory set up a meeting with No. 5 Taos (20-7) at The Pit on Tuesday.
Like in the boys' quarterfinal game, the girls will also face a district champion after the Lady Tigers claimed the District 4-3A title with an overtime victory over West Las Vegas.
Taos defeated Lady Chiefs' first-round opponent on all three occasions during the season by scores of 58-41, 56-45 and 65-58.
The Lady Tigers also meet up with Farmington at St. Michael's tournament, defeating the Lady Scorps 67-23.
Taos was lead by Marisol Martinez and Marcella Sanchez who each scored 21 points in the 53-43 first-round win over No. 12 Sandia Prep
Shiprock girls head coach Larenson Henderson hadn't seen much of the Lady Tigers but believes his team will pick up the win and set up a potential semifinal matchup with 3A favorite, No. 1 Hope Christian.
"I'm confident we can get by Taos, but I'm not taking anything for granted either," Henderson said.
Joshua Perry may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.