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.
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.