FARMINGTON — Cota Nahkai was an unstoppable force for the Shiprock boys basketball team tonight in Thoreau.
The junior big man ate up almost every rebound that came near him, cleaning up on the offensive glass for second-chance points to help lead the Chieftains (10-13, 2-1 District 1-4A) to an 81-46 thrashing of Thoreau (7-15, 0-3).
"We worked our offense and moved the ball very well, and when we shot it, we were able to rebound and put up points. Cota dominated the middle. He played really well, had good footwork and was on," Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty said.
Nahkai led the way with 26 points while three Chieftains finished in double figures. Landon Henderson added 14, followed by Kevin Begay and Arvin Begay with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Shiprock will get a few days off before getting back on the road, travelling to Farmington to face Navajo Prep (13-8, 1-3) on Friday.
The Chieftains beat the Eagles 50-41 on Jan. 26 in Shiprock.
Wingate 55, Navajo Prep 52
Navajo Prep had a couple of chances to tie the game in the final minute, but the Eagles' 3-point attempts were off the mark, allowing Wingate to hold on for a 55-52 win and stay top the District 1-4A standings.
Down 55-52 with less than 20 seconds remaining, the Ealges got two decent shots from beyond the arc that would have tied the game, but both were off the mark.
"The boys played hard, and defensively we were good, but (Wingate) scored a lot of points off of our turnovers, which has kind of been our Achilles heel lately," Prep coach Rick Hoerner said. "And we missed a bunch of short shots that probably would have put it away. I couldn't tell you how many shots we missed from 5 feet or under."
Lance Morris led the Eagles with 12 points. Tyler Pete and Dylan Begay added 11 points apiece.
The Eagles will host Shiprock (10-13, 2-1) on Friday.
"It's not going to be a home game. It will be on our floor, but with all of our kids gone for the weekend, a game on Friday night, that's going to be an 80-20 (Shiprock) crowd at best," Hoerner said. "We need to take care of the ball and play with more confidence. We play a little nervous and timid at times, and it seems to show up at the worst time."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.