SHIPROCK — The Shiprock girls basketball team shook off Tuesday’s shellacking to Bloomfield tonight by picking up a lopsided win of its own over Red Mesa, Ariz., on the first day of the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament.
The Lady Chieftains (2-1) weren’t crisp on offense in the early stages of the game, but the defense was always there, and that was a driving force in Shiprock’s 69-12 win over Red Mesa (1-2) at the Chieftain Pit.
Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said some of the offensive woes can be attributed to a lack of team chemistry so far in the young season.
“In the summer is where you get your collaboration going. But we had different players going, 'I wanna go play over here,' or 'I wanna go play over there,'" Henderson said. "And especially when the volleyball team played late. So it's really hard to evaluate the team right now."
Shiprock had a rare height advantage over Red Mesa and used it to pester the backcourt of the Lady Redskins. Steals didn’t always turn into transition buckets for the Lady Chiefs, but they did get to the free-throw line six times in the first quarter, sinking all six attempts.
A 16-0 run in the first quarter ballooned into a 38-10 halftime lead. Henderson took the opportunity against a lesser opponent to give a lot of minutes to his fringe rotation players. Freshmen Alisha Wilson and Lisa Begay were called up from the junior varsity squad prior to the game, and both girls played meaningful minutes.
Shiprock’s defensive energy didn’t waver after halftime, as the hosts held Red Mesa to just 2 points in the second half. Henderson said the strong defensive effort was something he had been waiting to see, and he hopes that carries over into tonight's rematch with Bloomfield.
"That's one thing we told ourselves we're going to crack down on," Henderson said. "We played tonight's game as a preparation for Bloomfield tomorrow. And that's one thing I'm really excited about, to give (Bloomfield) a different look defensively and see what happens out there."
Shiprock and Bloomfield clash at 6 p.m. tonight. The game is the nightcap of the second day of the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tourney.
Bloomfield 47, Los Lunas 45
The Bloomfield girls basketball team picked up its second big win in three days, claiming a 47-45 road win over Los Lunas tonight.
With a 47-45 lead in the final seconds of the contest, Los Lunas (1-4) had a chance to tie or win the game, but Lady Bobcats junior guard Brandi Alcantar stole the ball and dribbled out the clock for the win.
Bloomfield coach Tom Adair said one of the keys to the win was the Lady Bobcats’ depth, pointing to the bench’s performance in the first half when the team struggled with early foul trouble.
“Our depth is the key. That’s what I told the girls after the game. Without our bench, we don’t win that game,” Adair said. “We’re able to rest people and keep people out of foul trouble, and without our deep bench, we can’t do that.”
Bloomfield (2-0) trailed by 11 points at halftime.
Destiny Walther dominated the second half for the Lady Bobcats (2-0), scoring 15 of her team-high 17 points after halftime.
Bloomfield will travel to Shiprock (2-1) to take on the Lady Chieftains at the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament Friday night at 6.
Kirtland Central 67, Tuba City, Ariz., 47
The Lady Broncos showed no ill effects of a nine-day holiday layoff, as they trounced Tuba City, Ariz., 67-47 on the first day of the Page Holiday Tournament today in Arizona.
The win was the first of the young season for Kirtland Central, which lost a tight overtime contest to Piedra Vista on Nov. 22.
Kirtland Central coach John Zecca could not be reached for comment following the game.
KC plays Arbor View out of Las Vegas, Nev., in the semifinals Friday at 8 p.m.
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.