Lady Scorps hire former state title winner at Shiprock

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FARMINGTON — Larenson Henderson’s championship pedigree couldn’t be ignored, and Farmington High School has chosen him to take the reins as the next Lady Scorpions basketball coach.

“I’m very excited. (The school’s) bigger. The level of play is going to be a lot higher. I’m grateful for Farmington High for giving me a chance on that. To go there and make something happen, hopefully, our chemistry together is going to great,” Henderson said today. “I love the challenge of the competition of basketball. They’ve got to share that commitment and sacrifice. I think they can go far. They were right on that little edge of winning a couple (of critical games). Maybe I can get them over that hump.”

Henderson went 154-29 in his six seasons coaching Shiprock’s girls basketball program, guiding the Lady Chieftains to a state title in 2017, as well as two state runner-up finishes and three state semifinals appearances.

“It’s real exciting to get a coach that’s been successful at a high level. We were excited that we were able to bring in Henderson with all his experience. We’re excited about what the future brings,” Farmington Municipal Schools athletic director Frank Whalen said.

Henderson brought a run-and-gun style offense and full-court pressure defense to Shiprock. Henderson said he still needs to further evaluate Farmington's personnel before deciding on the exact system he will run. However, he did notice some things from the Lady Scorpions' battles with Shiprock last year.

“I think Farmington has a lot of good patience and jump shots around the perimeter. They’ve got good game IQs. They move the ball well,” Henderson said.

Henderson said he wants Farmington to be more even aggressive attacking the basket on penetration, as well as in rebounding and boxing out. Henderson also said he’d like to see his players attack the basket point blank more often rather than just attacking from angles.

More: Shiprock announces coaching changes

Central Consolidated School District media relations spokesperson Renee Lucero said last month that Henderson’s contract wasn’t renewed because CCSD’s policy prefers that coaches be certified teachers or employees at the school. Lucero characterized Henderson as a “stipend” employee with Shiprock, meaning his employment was for the duration of a season.

Henderson applied for the job again for this upcoming school year, but the interview committee chose Adriane Goodluck-Jopek, who is a teacher at Shiprock High, as the next coach.

Whalen said Henderson won’t be a certified teacher or employee at FHS, but will receive a stipend.

Henderson takes over for Brady Rivers, who stepped down last month to become Piedra Vista’s boys basketball coach.

At FHS, Henderson will inherit a team with much of its key group back, including front court duo Jordan Vasquez and Chloe Finch.

Henderson also said he’s excited to face district foes Piedra Vista, West Mesa, Eldorado and La Cueva this season in the newly classified District 2-5A.

“That right there drives me. Thinking about it gives me chills,” Henderson said. “I think Farmington’s going to be a tough team in that situation.”

Henderson said FHS must work more on conditioning to improve team speed start to end, something he took from Shiprock’s games against 4A powers like Silver, Portales and Hope Christian.

“The more you get tired, the frustration kicks in. You forget plays, you lose composure out there,” Henderson said.

Danny Secrest named FHS baseball coach

Secrest, who was an assistant baseball coach at FHS from 1998 to 2016, went 25-27 with back-to-back playoff appearances the past two seasons as Kirtland Central’s head baseball coach.

“I’m way excited. It’s definitely a blessing to get this job,” Secrest said today. “The tradition and success is a huge part of Farmington baseball. Hopefully, we can keep that rolling. I’m ready for the challenge, for sure.”

He takes over for Sean Trotter, who stepped down last month after nine seasons at the school.

Farmington won the 5A state baseball title last season, its first blue trophy since 2008.

“Hopefully, they’ll just stay hungry,” Secrest said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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