Jarrett Graham drops 38 points on Gallup as the Panthers win in overtime; Shiprock boys cruise past Laguna Acoma 67-52
FARMINGTON — The "big three" of the Shiprock girls basketball team propelled the Lady Chieftains to a nondistrict win tonight.
Melanie Secody, Tanisha Begay and Paige Dale have been playing great basketball lately, according to Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson, and tonight was no different. The trio guided Shiprock to its seventh straight win with a 56-46 road victory over Piedra Vista at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.
Class 4A's Shiprock dropped a 1-point game to 6A's PV on Dec. 3 at the Chieftain Pit, and the Lady Chieftains (10-2) repaid them by beating the Lady Panthers (6-3) at their place. But the Shiprock fans traveled so well to PV's home gym that it almost sounded like a Lady Chiefs home game throughout the night.
"I think it's the first time they had to open the top bleachers for a girls basketball game at PV," Lady Panthers coach Joe Reed said. "I think for a young team with only one senior, a packed gym kind of got to them. I think that caused early turnovers."
Both Henderson and Reed agreed that Shiprock's Secody and Dale outplayed PV's Alexis Long and Hallie Blackie.
"We did a good job taking the ball out of Alexis' hands," Henderson said. "The last time we played them, she did a good job of handling the ball. Paige and Melanie were containing (Long) and staying in front of her."
Long and the rest of the Lady Panthers were turnover prone tonight, coughing the ball up 23 times in the loss.
"Our point guard, our backup point guard, just got outplayed tonight," Reed said. "Secody, man, she had a great game. She took care of the basketball, she broke us down, she made some big shots. She had 10 (points) but her shots came at big times."
The Lady Chieftains found their stroke from 3-point range in the second quarter, during which four players hit triples, helping the visitors take a 10-point lead into halftime.
Shiprock's lead ballooned to as big as 13 points in the third quarter until the Lady Panthers went on a mini surge and made it a 5-point game after an Elli Wright 3-pointer.
But true to form on the night, PV couldn't capitalize on that momentum and turned the ball over a couple of more times in the third, allowing Shiprock to push its lead back up to 8 points to start the fourth.
Four points from Begay in the fourth and 3 points from Secody — which came on a steal, transition layup and converted and-one free throw — held down the Lady Panthers in the game's final minutes.
Henderson calls Begay, Secody and Dale his "big three" because of all-around performances like they flashed tonight.
"The girls, especially that big three, have been understanding what it takes to win ball games," Henderson said.
Begay and Kylie McKinley had 11 points apiece for Shiprock. Wright led PV with 13.
Shiprock will play in the Goddard Christmas Tournament beginning Dec. 28. On the same day, PV starts play in the Clovis Holiday Tournament.
Piedra Vista 65, Gallup 64, OT
Junior guard Jarrett Graham put on a show for Piedra Vista with 38 points tonight during a come-from-behind 65-64 overtime win over Gallup on the road.
Graham, the team's season-leading scorer, knocked down nine 3-pointers, including one in OT. PV coach Devon Manning said Graham's teammates were in awe of his huge night.
"Even our team got caught watching him a little bit, 'cause he got hot," Manning said. "So the ball got stagnant a little bit at times. But he didn't just go play 1-on-1 ball, we ran plays for him, we ran sets for him to get him shots."
Down 11 points to Gallup (2-8) at halftime, Manning said he and his coaches called out their players.
"We called them weak," Manning said. "We said we're starting to lose confidence in the team with the toughness factor. Once the second half started, it was a completely different ballgame."
The Panthers (6-4) had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, but Brady Brown barely missed a shot to send the 57-57 game into OT.
There, the Panthers ran their motion offense well with a pair of 3-pointers and 8 overtime points. With eight seconds left, Shanden Todacheeny stole a Gallup inbound pass to seal the victory.
PV will play at Santa Fe (7-4) on Thursday.
Shiprock 67, Laguna Acoma 52
The Chieftains overcame 30 first-half turnovers to win their second straight game, beating Laguna Acoma 67-52 on the road tonight.
Justin Yazzie had 14 points and Kevin Begay and Landon Henderson each had 10 in a game that Shiprock consistently controlled.
The fast pace of the game made the Chiefs (4-7) turn the ball over early on, but they found their groove after halftime, going up by as many as 22 points at one point.
The Hawks (4-4) cut Shiprock's lead down to 15 when coach Chester Atcitty put his reserves in the game early in the fourth, but the coach said he called timeout and reminded the team not to get complacent, like they did when they blew a big lead and lost to Fabens, Texas, earlier in the season.
"I had to remind them of that Fabens game, and I said, 'We can't do that again,'" Atcitty said. "I just had to remind them keep playing with intensity, keep playing hard."
Shiprock will try to make it three straight wins in a home game against Farmington (8-1) on Jan. 5.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.