Tohatchi's Kalian Mitchell drops 31 points on Navajo Prep to help push the Lady Cougars to victory

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FARMINGTON — Turnovers doomed the Navajo Prep girls basketball team tonight against Tohatchi.

A string of turnovers from Prep quickly turned a 1-point deficit into double digits, and the Lady Eagles could never overcome the bad sequence en route to a 74-61 loss to the Lady Cougars.

“It’s our rushing and passing decisions,” Prep coach Rainy Crisp said of the turnovers. “Tohatchi did a good job being aggressive. They were going after the ball. It’s more of a mental game for us. Once we make a couple of turnovers, we start thinking about it too much and want to get the ball out of our hands. We have to be more confident."

With less than four minutes left in the first quarter, Tohatchi led 16-15 when the turnovers began, allowing the Lady Cougars (11-5) to outscore Prep 14-2 and take a 30-17 lead into the second quarter.

The Lady Eagles (9-4) chipped away at the deficit through the second quarter, getting within 6 points with 1:50 remaining before halftime. But Tohatchi answered with a quick 6-0 run over the next 50 seconds to regain control.

Trailing 47-38 to start the third quarter, Prep made a short run to make it a 4-point game with less than five minutes remaining in the quarter.

But again, the Lady Cougars went on a tear to blow the game open, outscoring Prep 20-4 in the final 4:45 to take a 70-50 lead into the fourth quarter.

“Tohatchi hit some crucial 3s to jump ahead again and really took the momentum away from us,” Crisp said.

Often the initiator of Tohatchi’s runs was junior guard Kalian Mitchell, who would attack the basket off the dribble, getting into the lane for a high-percentage shot or dish the ball out to an open teammate when Prep’s defense came to help.

In the fourth, Prep’s defense gave the Lady Eagles a chance to come back, keeping Tohatchi from scoring for the first 6:43 of the quarter. However, the Lady Eagles didn’t have the legs to cut into the deficit and threaten the Lady Cougars’ lead, leaving a number of open jump shots short.

“Trying to play catchup the whole game, we are going to run out of gas,” Crisp said. “I think our girls who came off the bench did a good job. They came in, played well and gave our starters a rest. It’s just one of those games where we could never get over the hump.”

Three Lady Eagles finished the night in double digits. Martinique Larvingo led the way with 24 points, Harlei Haceesa added 13 and Tiana Sandoval chipped in 11.

Mitchell finished with 31 points for Tohatchi.

Prep will have a quick turnaround after the loss, traveling to Zuni Friday to face the Lady Thunderbirds (1-12).

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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