Lady Chieftains win for the seventh straight time behind big nights from Begay, Dale and Secody
SHIPROCK — Since moving up to Class 4A before the 2014-2015 season, all the Shiprock girls basketball team has done is own its district.
The Lady Chieftains crushed Navajo Prep 69-30 tonight at the Chieftain Pit and captured their third consecutive District 1-4A title in the process.
Shiprock hasn't been tested since Jan. 24, when the Lady Chiefs edged the Lady Eagles 46-38. Since then, Shiprock has won seven straight games, the closest one being a 35-point victory over Wingate on Feb. 14.
Tanisha Begay won tournament MVP honors for scoring 14 points, 10 of which came in the second quarter. Paige Dale led Shiprock in scoring with 17 points, and Melanie Secody added 11. Those three girls, along with Kylie McKinley, were first-team all-tournament choices.
"We have players like Paige, and Mel (Secody) and Tanisha that, when they can pass and play together with teamwork, they're a triple threat," Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said.
Prep came out more focused than it did the last time the teams met — a 57-19 Shiprock victory on Feb. 9 — and went basket for basket with the Lady Chieftains to start the contest. Shiprock took only a 16-14 lead into the second quarter.
But that's when Shiprock found its groove. Behind Begay's 10-point frame, the Lady Chiefs went on a backbreaking 29-6 run in the second quarter and were able to coast from there.
Begay, a Fort Lewis College commit, said she knew that was one of the final times she'd lace up her shoes at the Chieftain Pit, and she said she just tried to enjoy it.
"This is once in a lifetime to play in this type of environment here," Begay said. "I'm very grateful I got to experience it. And it's just a blessing to play here."
Shiprock received help up and down its bench tonight, as second-team all-tourney players Tierra Clichee and Chamika Begaye got in on the second-quarter fun. Clichee hit a pair of 3-pointers that quarter, and Begaye scored 5 in the middle two periods.
The disparity in point totals between the two teams was similar to the score in the Feb. 9 blowout, but Prep coach Rainy Crisp said she thought her girls showed more fight tonight than they did three weeks ago.
"Our main thing was to try and get second opportunities on rebounds," Crisp said. "We noticed last game that every time they grabbed a rebound, they were gone. Obviously, it's tough to slow them down, but although the point margin was probably the same as last, I feel like our girls worked harder this game. The last time we kind of just gave up and rolled over, but this time we played it out until the end."
Harlei Haceesa and Martinique Larvingo were also named to the first all-tourney team, and Larvingo also took home a sportsmanship award. Sequoia Wilson and Taina Sandoval made it onto the all-tourney second team.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.