Shiprock sputters against Gallup in opener
PV girls plaster Pojoaque Valley, Bloomfield boys have no trouble with Bosque
FARMINGTON – The Shiprock girls basketball team battled and battled in Saturday night's season opener, but a tough Gallup team always seemed to have an answer.
The District 1-5A favorite Lady Tigers outplayed the District 1-4A favorite Lady Chieftains in the fourth quarter on Saturday to pick up the 82-77 win in Gallup.
Trailing for most of the night, Shiprock got hot and tied the game at 63 a few minutes into the fourth quarter. But Gallup appeared to want the game more down the stretch, according to Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson.
"They overpowered us, got the rebounds and got to the free throw line," Henderson said. "They really outhustled us. The small points added up."
Tia Woods led the Lady Chieftains with 17 points, and Tanisha Begay chipped in with 15. But nobody on Shiprock's roster could slow down Gallup center Ni'asia McIntosh, who scored 30 points.
"We had nobody that could play with (McIntosh)," Henderson said. "She went around us, went through us and went over us."
The Chieftain Pit will undergo renovations during Thanksgiving week so the team will have the holiday break off from practice. Shiprock hosts the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 3 and will play Navajo Pine in the first round. Henderson expects his team to bounce back in the tourney.
"We'll let the girls enjoy their vacation and then get back at it the following Saturday," he said. "We'll be good and ready to go for that next game."
Piedra Vista 67, Pojoaque Valley 38
Piedra Vista is off to a hot start this season after picking up a 67-38 win over Pojoaque Valley (1-1) Saturday night at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.
After a slow start in the first half, the Lady Panthers (2-0) held a 25-18 lead at halftime.
But when the second half began, PV played with a sense of purpose it lacked during the first two quarters and outscored the Elkettes 42-20.
“The intensity level wasn’t the same,” PV head coach Joe Reed said. “We need to find a way to keep the intensity up every night.”
Defensively, PV created numerous turnovers with its full-court press and outrebounded Pojoaque Valley.
Reed said the number of times the Lady Panthers turned the ball over was down from the season opener on Thursday.
Seniors Nykki Benally and Monique Russle each hit three 3-pointers and finished the game with 24 and 13 points, respectively.
PV will be off until Dec. 3 when the Lady Panthers go to the Santa Fe Indian School Tournament.
Bloomfield 68, Bosque 35
Bloomfield’s season got off on the right foot Saturday when the team blasted Bosque 68-35 on the road.
Slow starts in the first and third quarters got under head coach Devon Manning’s skin, but he thought it was an otherwise sound effort from the Bobcats.
“We were a little tentative at first. We weren’t sure how we were going to play,” Manning said. “Once we stopped forcing the game and let the game come to us, that’s when we really started opening it up a little bit.”
Junior guard Damion Sanchez led the Bobcats in scoring with 19 points.
“I think as Damion gets more confident and learns how to play varsity basketball, he’s only going to get better,” Manning said.
Key rotation players Brendon Charley and Brendan Ramsey were playing in a state football playoff game Saturday, opening up some minutes for others to show what they could do. Manning said Sanchez wasn’t the only Bobcat hungry to make an impression in the season opener.
“What the whole team showed me is, I can put any guy on our bench out there for even a minute or two, and they can produce in some way. It doesn’t have to be scoring,” he said.
Bloomfield will take a couple of weeks off for Thanksgiving before participating in the Shiprock tournament, which begins Thursday, Dec. 3.
Santa Fe Indian School 65, Navajo Prep 38
Fatigue was a factor for Navajo Prep on Saturday, as the team stumbled in its third regular-season contest in as many days.
After beating Bosque in a game that tipped off at 7 p.m. Friday, the Eagles (2-1) woke up Saturday morning and got on the bus to head to Santa Fe, where Santa Fe Indian School beat them 65-38.
Prep was extremely undermanned by the midway point of the game. Only seven players suited up in the first place, and then the team lost a player to injury early on and had another player foul out.
The injuries, foul trouble and tired legs all factored into the blowout, Prep coach Rick Hoerner said.
“I think we were just gassed. That was a really tough turnaround this early in the season,” Hoerner said. “Plus, we had a few guys just get back from football, and they’re not really in basketball condition yet.”
Forward Dylan Begay paced the Eagles with 13 points in the loss. Point guard Nachae Nez added 11.
Prep will finally get some rest before hosting Farmington’s junior varsity team on Dec. 1.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.