By Greg Perkins–
Another basketball season has quickly arrived at Holbrook High School where the Lady Roadrunners are hoping to continue building on the program’s success over the past few seasons. Coach Greg Perkins heads up the program for his fourth season and is again assisted by Claude Bakurza who coaches the Junior Varsity team and joined by Frank Stacey who will head up the Freshmen team.
The team lost just two seniors from last year’s team, which advanced to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs before losing out to eventual runner-up Monument Valley.
“Obviously we come into this season with quite a bit of experience. We finished well last year, we had a solid summer program and we have a veteran group of girls who have seen a lot of court time,” Perkins notes.
The team has three returning starting seniors: Aaren LaRose, Kellin Bakurza and Shantina Kinlicheenie. They are joined by classmates Kenalda Quintero and Tamisha Yazzie, both with varsity experience from last season. Juniors on the team with varsity experience from last season include Jessica Paz, Kaynasa Curley, Samantha Smith, Col’Bi Nez and Brittney Baldwin. New to the varsity team this year are juniors Eriene Haskie and Heather Dudley. Sophomores on the varsity roster at this point include Shandie Demuth and Summer Charley.
With the new divisional re-alignment the Roadrunners now play in section one of division three. They are joined by 18 other teams, including all the former 3A North region teams from the past few years.
“The new scheduling and divisional placement has changed things for all of us. One thing that will help us with those changes is that we have been used to playing the best girls’ teams in the state on a regular basis. There are now some teams we know nothing about including some of those private 2A level schools, which have won several state titles in recent years at that level. Now they are with us along with several 4A level schools, so we need to be better prepared than we have been in years past.
“Despite the new format, we still have very high expectations for this year’s team. Each year we have moved one round deeper in the state tournament, and that is again one of our goals. It will be tough to achieve it, but if the girls work hard we can get the job done,” Perkins says.
Holbrook will be joined by Flagstaff and Monument Valley for a three-team scrimmage at Muñoz gym on Friday afternoon beginning at 4 p.m. Each team will play six quarters in the officiated practice.
The Roadrunners open the season on Monday with a trip to Flagstaff to face Coconino.
“With every game counting towards the all-important power point standings, there are no pre-season type games anymore. We have to be ready to go on Monday,” Perkins noted.
Players on the Junior Varsity roster at this point include junior Starla Smith; sophomores Shandie Demuth, Summer Charley, Tamara Yazzie and Brandi Baldwin. They are joined by Freshmen Teyah Goldtooth, Rochelle Nez and Summer Olney.
Freshmen team players include Terrilyn Lester, Lauren Silversmith, Latanya Lano, Sue Nelson, Dina Kinlicheenie, Kaitlyn Benally, Glenda Tsosie, Johanna Tsosie, Mariah Cummings, Cheyenne Lester, Tillethea Kelly and Ashley Attakai. Team managers this year are Charmayne Yazzie, Amber Yazzie and Jade Gishie.
Following Monday’s game at Coconino High School, the Roadrunners will have some time to prepare for their Dec. 2 game at St. Johns. Holbrook has just two home games prior to the Christmas break, but will be at home for seven of their eleven contests in January.