Shiprock's Shannon Dale catching fire with quick scoring bursts

Matt Hollinshead,
Shiprock's Shannon Dale makes a 3-pointer against Durango during the Marv Sanders Invitational boys basketball tournament Thursday at Scorpion Arena in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – Shannon Dale is fully capable of catching fire at a moment’s notice on the scoring end, inside and out.

All it takes is that first field goal attacking the rim, and the Shiprock forward can start going off anywhere on the floor.

He can maneuver his way around the post for quick points, which soon turn into the big kickout 3-pointer.

Although he’s still trying to reach the point of doing such damage start to end, rather than the first quarter here, the fourth quarter there, Dale’s had his moments as a potent scoring machine.

“It’s been great. I just always stick to my drive. And if I can’t drive, then I start going to the outside game… If it’s a close game, I’m going to have to help my team out with getting to the free throw line and just finishing the game off strong,” Dale said. “I play hard, and I just try to find the open shot and open places where I’m dominant.”

Dale scored 13 of his 24 points in the first quarter against Durango on Thursday. He also had a couple clutch inside touches in the final minutes, which led to multiple trips to the foul line.

Although he scored just 13 points tonight against Navajo Prep, all of which came in the first half, he wasn’t afraid to charge toward the basket.

He generated a few key buckets in the paint, which helped preserve some momentum for the Chieftains’ offense.

Dale’s cutting through lanes efficiently and is attacking off screens, and his 6-foot-3 frame further aids him because it can create mismatches.

“He’s growing, definitely, with the game. He’s doing a lot more,” coach Chester Atcitty said. “They’re good (shots) he’s making right off the floor. You can’t take that away from him.”

He’s also setting up good shot attempts from downtown behind solid form and a quicker release.

And once his point totals gradually rise, Dale’s touches also increase.

Dale looks to be as much of a complete scorer as he possibly can.

As the season progresses, Dale’s looking to keep the scoring bursts going, each and every quarter.

The thought of Dale producing scoring bursts in all four quarters is enough to perk up Atcitty’s ears.

“It’s almost insanely crazy, for him to do that consistently and be recognized right off the bat,” Atcitty said, “that’s a good thing. Hopefully, we’ll get there.”

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.