Shiprock stumbles, holds on to top Prep 46-38

Karl Schneider,

FARMINGTON — The Shiprock girls basketball team watched for most of the fourth quarter as Navajo Prep chipped away at a 17-point deficit, but the Lady Chieftains pull themselves together in the final couple minutes to avoid a complete collapse and escaped with a 46-38 victory tonight at the Eagles Nest.

Shiprock's Melanie Secody drives past Navajo Prep's Lemaira Romaine for a layup on Wednesday night at the Eagles Nest.

While happy to walk away with a road win in the team's District 1-4A opener, Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson was a bit perplexed by the Lady Chieftains up-and-down performance against Prep.

"I really don't have an answer for tonight," Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said. "I keep telling the girls they have to know how to win games, and they have to have that killer instinct. I don't know if they're putting a lot of pressure on themselves or what. I don't know. I don't know what was wrong tonight. It was a sloppy win, but it's a win."

Leading 39-22 heading into the fourth quarter, the Lady Chiefs (16-5, 1-0 District 1-4A) went cold, missing multiple open shots from the perimeter and in the paint they normally make, and didn't score a point for the first 5:40 of the quarter.

Prep (10-6, 0-1) took advantage, going on an 11-0 run over the first three minutes of the quarter to get within 6 points. But then the Lady Eagles' shooting fell off, allowing Shiprock to hold on for the win.

"Being down as much as we were against a good team, it's tough to catch back up," Prep coach Rainy Crisp said. "We almost had it in the fourth quarter. I think if we had another quarter we could have."

Navajo Prep's Chantel Wagner, right, strips the ball out of the hands of Shiprock's Kylie McKinley on Wednesday at the Eagles Nest.

As has been the case for Prep all season, turnovers were a major issue in the game.

Shiprock's half-court defense was stellar in the first quarter. The Lady Chiefs had hands in every passing lane to deflect passes and come up with steals and dominated the opening quarter for a 17-2 lead heading into the second quarter.

Crisp said the biggest issue in the first quarter was the Lady Eagles' lack of communication, which led to breakdowns on both sides of the ball.

Settling down in the second, Prep maintained possession long enough to get into its offense and found success, outscoring Shiprock 13-10 in the quarter.

Shiprock's defense regained control of the game in the third quarter, holding the Lady Eagles to 7 points in the quarter.

"We tried some different things this game to try to give Prep a different look. We might end up playing Prep two more times, so we wanted to show them something different, and we wanted to hold them to 35 (points), and they got 38, so that's good for us," Henderson said.

Melanie Secody led Shiprock with 11 points. Tanisha Begay added 9, and Kylie McKinley chipped in 8.

Harlie Haceesa paced Prep with 13 points. Sequoia Wilson and Tiana Sandoval finished with 7 points each.

Prep will head south to New Laguna to take on Laguna Acoma (11-5) in a nondistrict tilt Friday night.

Shiprock will be off until Tuesday when the Lady Chieftains travel to Fort Wingate to take on the Lady Bears (12-5).

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