The Lady Roadrunners of Holbrook went 2-1 in their three game homestand last week, sandwiching wins over Alchesay and Chinle around a tough loss to Valley Sanders.
Alchesay came into last Wednesday’s game with a power point record of 9-0. Through the first period and even the first half it looked as though the Lady Falcons could possibly leave with that mark intact, but the Lady Roadrunners turned a one-point halftime cushion into an 18-point, 57-39 win with solid second half defense.
Seniors Aaren LaRose and Kellin Bakurza helped close out the game as each went four for four at the charity line in the fourth period.
“We knew they would be a tough opponent and we knew a win would really help us in the power point rankings,” said Coach Greg Perkins.
“Through the first half the game was a battle, but in the second half we wore them down a little, and everyone really stepped up and played well. We wanted to get back to playing the up tempo style on both ends of the floor and it really showed in this game.
“They are a good team that we could see again in the playoffs,” said the coach.
Shantina Kinlicheenie lead the Lady Roadrunners with 12 points. Starla Smith came off the bench to score 11, including three from behind the arc. Kaynasa Curley added 10; Bakurza, 7; Heather Dudley, 6; LaRose and Jessica Paz, 4 each; and Tamisha Yazzie, 3. Holbrook made five treys and went 12 for 19 at the line.
Alchesay was led by Shanice Alchesay with 8 points. The Lady Falcons went 10 for 24 at the line and made one three-point shot.
Alchesay 9 11 7 12 39
Holbrook 6 15 18 18 57
On Friday once-beaten Valley Sanders came to town with fans of both teams expecting to see another epic battle. A week earlier these two teams fought to a three-point game in Sanders.
This time around, after Valley had opened up a 16-point lead in the second half, Holbrook used the three-point shot to wipe out that lead in just four minutes late in the third, then trailed by five heading to the fourth. In the fourth Valley’s Chelena Betoney showed her skills, hitting back-to-back three point shots, which really crippled Holbrook’s hopes of being just the second team to hand the Lady Pirates a loss this season.
“We played very well on both ends, but, unfortunately, in the first half we couldn’t buy a bucket. We shot just 18 percent from the field in the first half and once again had to dig ourselves out of a hole against a very good team. Despite them shooting an amazing 68 percent from the field in the second half, we were still able to wipe out that big lead in just four minutes, which is a credit to what these girls can do when all cylinders are working together,” said Coach Perkins.
“We finally found our own shooting touch in the second half, but making that big run took our legs and when you play a very good team like the Lady Pirates, you have to be playing with full effort for 32 minutes to win. Down the stretch we made just a few mistakes that left the door open for them and they took advantage. Chelena is an amazing little guard, and we just couldn’t keep her contained for the whole game.”
Holbrook was led by LaRose with 14 points, which included four treys. Paz added 12; Kinlicheenie, 10; Bakurza and Curley, 6 each; Col’Bi Nez, 4; and Starla Smith and Dudley, 2 each. Holbrook made seven of 14 free throws and hit seven three-point shots.
Valley was led by Chelena Betoney with a game high 26 points. Kayla Katoney added 15. The Lady Pirates hit 11 of 15 free throws and made four three-point shots, all by Betoney.
Valley 14 16 10 25 65
Holbrook 7 11 17 21 56
On Saturday Holbrook welcomed in Chinle in front of another large crowd. These two teams had met twice before, with the Lady Birds winning each time by single digits in holiday tournaments.
This time Holbrook played well early, building a six-point first quarter lead behind four points behind Dudley. In the second, LaRose nailed two three-point shots, the second coming from well behind the arc in the final seconds of the half, giving Holbrook a 10-point cushion at the break.
Dudley took over in the third quarter, scoring eight of her game high 18 points in the frame to expand Holbrook’s lead. She added six more in the final quarter, pacing the Lady Roadrunners to a 57-40 win.
“Heather really stepped up and played like we’ve been hoping she would. She went into the game playing real aggressive, which really helped her get into the game quickly and helped her stay on the floor. The other girls did a great job of recognizing the way she was playing and they all did a good job of feeding her the ball,” said Coach Perkins.
“Defensively, Col’Bi, Jessica and Kellin did a great job in containing their best player. Kaynasa once again played a solid game for us. She is one of those players who doesn’t get noticed until you look at the film and see just how well she plays every time she is on the floor. Aaren and Shantina have both really picked up their games this past week.
“We will need everyone to play at their peak in the next two weeks so we can position ourselves for the sectionals and the state playoffs,” he concluded.
Dudley led the team with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Curley added 14 points; LaRose, 8; Kinlicheenie, 5; Brittany Baldwin and Bakurza, 3 each; Nez and Samantha Smith, 2 each; and Yazzie and Paz, 1 each.
Chinle 7 13 11 9 40
Holbrook 13 17 14 13 57
Holbrook’s record improved to 17-9 overall and 9-4 in power point games. After playing at rival Winslow on Tuesday, the Lady Birds will host Snowflake on Friday, Jan. 27, then make the short trip to Joseph City on Saturday. Next week they host St. Johns on Tuesday night, which will be Senior Night, then close out the regular season at Chinle on Friday. If the Lady Birds can finish in the top eight of Section I, they will play in the sectional tournament at Chinle.