Lady Chiefs get revenge, oust Bloomfield 49-42
Clutch free-throw shooting, nine 3-pointers guide Shiprock at home
SHIPROCK — The Shiprock girls basketball team avenged Tuesday's blowout loss to Bloomfield tonight by making more plays than the Lady Bobcats down the stretch and hitting free throws.
Junior reserve Melanie Secody went seven for eight from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter as part of Shiprock's 10-for-12 effort at the charity stripe in the frame. That was the difference for the Lady Chieftains, who won 49-42 at the Chieftain Pit on the second day of the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament.
"We changed some things in practices this year and made it fun for the girls to hit free throws," Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said. "Those drills are working out for us right now."
On the night, Shiprock (3-1) made 14 freebies on 17 attempts.
The Lady Chieftains carried their sturdy defensive effort against Red Mesa on Thursday into tonight's game. Henderson put the athletic, 5-foot-8 inch Tanisha Begay on Bloomfield's starting center, Destiny Walther, who averaged more than 14 points per game last season. The move worked, as Begay helped hold Walther to 8 points, a far cry from her 17 on Tuesday.
That was one of a few defensive shakeups that Henderson made after the loss. Another change was working defensively to deny interior passes.
"Last time we played (Bloomfield), we front faced them, and they just kind of threw it over the top," Henderson said. "This time we played behind them, so we made them catch the ball and make a move."
Turnovers hurt Shiprock early on. The Lady Chiefs committed 14 turnovers before halftime, but cleaned it up with only three after the break.
Bloomfield (2-1) took advantage of Shiprock's inability to take care of the ball and went into halftime with a 21-20 lead.
But the Lady Bobcats, who didn't get back to Bloomfield until 2 this morning after winning in Los Lunas on Thursday, had a rough time putting the ball through the hoop in the second half.
"Part of it was, our shots didn't fall. They usually fall," Bloomfield coach Tom Adair said. "When shots aren't falling, we've got to be able to get the offensive rebounds and put them right back up. You can't worry about the miss."
The game was tied at 32 to open the final quarter, which Shiprock won 17-10.
Although the Lady Bobcats eventually succumbed to a great defensive game plan by Shiprock, they hung in there with a good team following a quick turnaround. Adair said he appreciated the effort.
"We fought, and we battled until the end," he said. "We wanted to win the game. I didn't feel like we played as well as we could have, but we did some really good things, too."
Nine of the Lady Chieftains' 13 made field goals were 3-pointers. Begay led both teams in scoring with 15 points.
Bloomfield failed to produce a double-digit scorer in the loss.
Shiprock closes out the tourney against Piedra Vista (4-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday. Bloomfield plays Farmington at 11 a.m.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.