Eagles complete comeback for home tourney title
- The Shiprock girls knocked off Page, the No. 4 school in Arizona, to win a tournament in Chinle.
- Aztec repeatedly shot itself in the foot in the second half in a 68-35 loss to Mayfield.
FARMINGTON — The Navajo Prep boys basketball team needed a comeback effort in the fourth quarter to capture the title of its home tournament, the Eagles Classic, today at the Eagles Nest.
Prep trailed Kirtland Central’s junior varsity team 36-34 entering the fourth quarter before rallying for a 56-51 victory.
“We actually decided to handle the ball against the press, which is always helpful,” Prep coach Rick Hoerner said of the fourth-quarter turnaround. “Their pressure got to us early on, and we missed a ton of free throws early. At the end of the third quarter, we were four for 13 at the line. Then we hit a bunch in the fourth quarter.”
Treston Yazzie led Prep with 10 points. Hoerner said four players finished with 8 or 9 points.
“Trejan Clichee had 6 points in the fourth and had some really big baskets, and Trehall Martinez hit a big 3 when we were behind to give us the lead and some momentum,” Hoerner said.
Prep (7-2) will Rehoboth Christian (3-2) on Thursday.
Mayfield 68, Aztec 35
The Tigers dropped all three of their games at the Jerry Armijo Tournament in Albuquerque after falling 68-35 to Mayfield this morning.
"The game got ridiculously away from us in the second half," Aztec coach Matthew Steinfeldt said. "We had a flu bug kind of run through our hotel room and had three kids leave for ACT testing and some other issues, but, mostly, it was a case of a young team trying to learn how to compete early in the season."
Aztec (3-3) was only down 22-17 at halftime, and that was after Mayfield (2-6) hit a last-second 3-pointer to close the half.
Playing catch-up, the Tigers committed a plethora of unforced errors and the game spiraled out of control.
Steinfeldt said he's hopeful the competition from the southern part of the state will toughen the Tigers up the rest of the way. Wingate (1-3) comes to Aztec on Tuesday for the Tigers' home opener.
Shiprock 53, Page, Ariz., 32
The Shiprock girls basketball team added a huge victory to its 2016-2017 résumé tonight by beating Page, Ariz., 53-32 in the Choice Wireless Classic title game in Chinle.
Tournament MVP Tanisha Begay scored 12 points, and Paige Dale led with 21 as the player of the game for a Lady Chieftains team that went on an 18-1 fourth-quarter run.
Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said an active defense did wonders for Shiprock (7-2) against a team that came into the day undefeated and ranked fourth in Arizona by MaxPreps.com.
"We clamped down and stayed in front of girls and contained," Henderson said. "We were weak on the rebounding side. That's something we've got to work on. But other than that, I think our pressure intimidated a lot of their shots."
The Lady Chiefs never stopped moving on defense, according to Henderson, and rotated well the entire night.
Dale was perfect from the free-throw line on 15 attempts. Henderson said Dale, Begay and Melanie Secody were in sync.
"They made the big plays when we needed points," he said. "They were looking for each other up the court and finding open players. I'm really proud of them."
Shiprock is back home to host Kirtland Central (2-5) on Tuesday.
Kirtland Central 79, Rough Rock, Ariz., 20
The Lady Broncos (3-4) had little trouble in their final game of the Choice Wireless Classic, running over Rough Rock, Ariz., 79-20 today in Chinle, Ariz.
“I was a little disappointed with our play in the first half. We wanted to be sound fundamentally, and I know it can be hard in that kind of a game to do the little things correctly,” KC coach John Zecca said. “But in the second half, they came out a little better and were better fundamentally. Hopefully, that’s one thing we can build on.”
Mariah Bileen finished the game with 14 points, and Candace Patterson had 10 points to lead KC.
KC will play at rival Shiprock (7-2) on Tuesday.
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.