Shiprock rallies past Window Rock 66-58 in OT
- Aztec beat Whitehorse, Utah, to go 3-0 at the Shiprock Chieftains Tournament.
- Kevin Begay led Shiprock to an overtime victory over Window Rock in the Chiefs' home tourney.
- Bloomfield started slowly and fell at home to Los Lunas.
- Piedra Vista shook off a 21-point loss on Friday and hammered Valencia at home.
SHIPROCK — The Shiprock boys basketball team continued its early-season pattern of falling behind early before making it tight down the stretch when the Chieftains rallied to top Window Rock in overtime tonight.
Kevin Begay had 16 points — 7 of which came in OT — to propel Shiprock (2-3) to a 66-58 win on the final day of the Shiprock Chieftains Tournament at the Chieftain Pit.
Window Rock (0-3) opened a 14-point lead on the hosts in the second quarter but only brought a 5-point lead into halftime. Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty thought his team’s play in the early portion of the third quarter sparked the comeback.
“The first three minutes were very key,” Atcitty said. “We may not have taken the lead then, but we played strong enough defense to continue to get those stops, and that led us to take the lead late in the third quarter.”
Shiprock went up by 4 in the third but Window Rock retied the game at 46 by the end of the frame.
The teams slowed down the pace and battled to a 7-7 stalemate in the fourth. Then Atcitty’s bunch took it to the visitors in overtime behind 4 points from Cota Nakai and Begay’s two field goals and two made free throws.
Atcitty said he thinks Begay, who was Shiprock's representative on the all-tournament team, is one of his smartest players.
“Maybe not the quickest, but he’s the smartest. He works his butt off,” Atcitty said. “He’s got a great follow through, and he’s doing his best out there. We definitely appreciate the work he does for us.”
Cody Smith and Kensai Lewis from Aztec, as well as Elijah Mark from Shiprock Northwest, were also named to the all-tourney team.
Durango, Colo., was the winner of the tournament, finishing with a 3-0 record. Aztec placed second.
Aztec 58, Whitehorse, Utah, 42
The Aztec boys basketball team wrapped up a great weekend with a win, cruising past Whitehorse, out of Montezuma Creek, Utah, for a 58-42 win on the final day of the Shiprock Chieftains Tournament this morning.
“We’re starting to get more ball movement. From our scrimmage, and every game since, I think our movement has become better. We’re starting to execute things,” Aztec coach Matthew Steinfeldt said. “We’re starting to get the ball into our trio of big men we like to use and we’re getting a lot of productivity out of those guys.”
Getting the ball inside also opened up clean looks from the outside.
Lewis hit five 3-pointers and led Aztec (3-0) with 18 points.
Tanner Brooks added 12 in the win.
Aztec will play Albuquerque Academy (1-3) in the first round of the Joe Armijo Tournament on Thursday in Albuquerque.
Los Lunas 66, Bloomfield 47
Bloomfield came out a little flat at Bobcat Gym this afternoon and never recovered against Los Lunas.
The Tigers (2-0) burst out of the gate with an aggressive mindset on defense and took advantage of a tentative Bloomfield (2-2) offense. Los Lunas took a 35-17 advantage into halftime and won the game 66-47.
Bobcats coach Randy Crockett said his team made up some ground in the second half, but by then, it was too late.
"(Los Lunas) is good. They're an athletic team," Crockett said. "They played a lot more aggressively than we did."
Ty Padilla led Bloomfield in scoring with 17 points. Brendon Charley added 12 and Micah Yazzie had 11 for a Bloomfield team that gets a break before hosting Gallup (0-2) on Dec. 12.
Piedra Vista 50, Valencia 33
The Panthers (2-2) finished better against Valencia (0-3) than they did during Friday's 21-point loss to Albuquerque, and that brought Piedra Vista a win today.
PV coach Devon Manning said his team was a little tentative against the Albuquerque squad's tall front court, but bounced back well against the Jaguars.
"We played pretty good defensively and got some easy baskets," Manning said. "Overall, we finished a lot better, made a lot more shots."
Brady Brown led PV in scoring for the second consecutive day with 15 points. Jason Compton scored 12.
The Panthers play in the Marv Sanders Invitational next week in Farmington. They open up against Fabens, Texas, on Thursday.
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.