FARMINGTON – The Shiprock girls basketball team sent a message to the rest of the state that it won’t go away easily this season.
The Lady Chieftains completed a 20-point second-half comeback in the semifinals of the Hope Christian Invitational to beat Los Lunas 57-55 Friday afternoon in Albuquerque.
Shiprock (13-1) started slowly and was rushing shots after struggling with Los Lunas’ speed. The Lady Chieftains shot poorly, and the Lady Tigers (9-6) made eight 3-pointers in the first half, leaving Shiprock trailing 39-19 at halftime.
But Lady Chieftains head coach Larenson Henderson had a simple message for his team at intermission.
“I told them that I’ve been in instances before when we were down 28, and that I knew they were capable of doing this,” Henderson said. “In the second half, I said we were going to go all out.”
Shiprock cut the deficit to 47-36 heading to the fourth quarter, and took the lead at 56-55 with 1:07 remaining before holding on for the win.
Tanisha Begay led Shiprock with 14 points. Tia Woods and Shontai Grey scored 13 each, and Paige Dale added 10.
The win sets up the tournament final against Hope Christian. Last season, Hope bounced Shiprock from the state tournament, beating the Lady Chieftains 48-40 in overtime of the state semifinals.
“We’re trying to build a little rivalry with Hope Christian,” Henderson said. “They are a great team, and we’re going to take it to them. We have a lot to prove this year. We have no excuse to go out and be intimidated by them.”
Farmington 58, Atrisco Heritage Academy 41
Farmington played one of its best games all season, and the Lady Scorps rolled to a 58-41 win over Atrisco Heritage Academy Friday night in Albuquerque.
“We went back into a zone and played really good zone defense. We haven’t played defense like that all year. We finally put four quarters together,” Farmington head coach Danny Secrest said. “And on offense, we made extra passes to find the open shots and made them.”
Secrest said the Lady Scorps (6-7) also rebounded very well to keep the Lady Jaguars (9-7) from getting second-chance points.
Mia Yazzie scored 14 points to lead Farmington.
Farmington will play at St. Pius X (3-10) today in Albuquerque.
“I hope we can come out with the same intensity (today),” Secrest said. “That’s what I’ve wanted to see from the girls.”
Bloomfield 64, Hot Springs 18
The Lady Bobcats didn’t have any trouble with Hot Springs on Friday, leading from wire to wire and winning 64-18 in Albuquerque.
Destiny Walther led Bloomfield (10-4) in scoring for the second straight day with 15 points. Kara Watchman chipped in with 13 points in a game where all 15 Lady Bobcats saw playing time.
Hot Springs (1-10) couldn’t handle Bloomfield’s full-court press in the first half. With the game out of reach by halftime, Bloomfield coach Tom Adair decided to switch to a man-to-man defense, which he said needed some work.
“We played pretty good man-to-man against Hot Springs, but we’re going to need to be better at it when we face teams like Shiprock and Kirtland that have good 3-point shooters,” Adair said.
Bloomfield will have its hands full against West Las Vegas (13-3) today, the final day of the Hope Christian tourney. The game tips off at 11 a.m.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.