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FARMINGTON — The Shiprock Lady Chieftains capped off a dominant run on the basketball court this past decade by hoisting the blue trophy in 2017.

Shiprock reached the state finals in 2010 and 2011 under former coach Brady Rivers, a defensive-minded coach who’s currently leading the Piedra Vista boys.

SHS gave up just 40.1 points per game during the two-year stretch, but couldn’t quite make that final push on the scoring end in both title games.

Then comes coach Larenson Henderson, who implemented more of a run-and-gun style of play.

The Lady Chieftains were 29-0 entering the 2014 state finals, but lost their one and only game in the title game, 62-59 in overtime to New Mexico girls basketball heavyweight Portales.

SHS scored 68.8 points per game that season.

Shiprock generated another solid year on the scoring end averaging 65.8 points a game in 2016, but lost 51-48 to Hope Christian in the state finals.

However, SHS got its revenge against Hope Christian in the grand finally the following year. The Lady Chieftains won 47-42, securing their first state title in 15 years.

Although it took Shiprock a good five shots to get it done, SHS became battle-tested during its rise back to the top.

Henderson’s contract with Central Consolidated School District was not renewed after 2018, which led to him taking the top job leading the Farmington girls.

The news of Henderson’s departure from Shiprock initially sent shockwaves throughout San Juan County, since he brought home a long-overdue blue trophy to a basketball-crazy community in Shiprock.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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