Jan 042013

After falling to Window Rock in the opening game of the 3A North Tournament of Champions held in Chinle following Christmas, the Lady Roadrunners bounced back with a win over Ganado on day two of the tourney, followed by a hard fought, two-point loss to Tuba City in the third and fourth place game on the final day.
As poorly as they shot against the Lady Scouts in their first game, Holbrook scorched the nets in the first period against a lesser Lady Hornet team. After scoring just 31 total points against the Lady Scouts in the pre-vious game, the Lady Birds came out with 27 points in the first quarter against Ganado to take a 27-6 advan-tage. Samantha Smith, Kaynasa Curley and Teyah Goldtooth each netted six through the first eight min-utes. In the second Holbrook cooled off a bit, but still led 41-29 at the half. Samantha Smith really played well in the third quarter, adding 13 to her total output. In the final period Holbrook maintained its lead, defeating the Lady Hornets 81-68 in a high scoring game.
“I was certainly pleased with our offensive effort, especially from Samantha, who had a career high 21 points. Jessica (Paz) and Starla (Smith) did a great job of finding her off the dribble, and she also worked well on the offensive boards. Kaynasa also netted 21, playing another solid game for us,” said Coach Greg Perkins.
“I was disappointed with our work on the defensive end of the court. This might be the only time we were the bigger team and we gave up way too many offensive rebounds, which is where they got most of their points. We have to clean up that part of our game along with our turnovers starting this week or it is going to be a long month of January.”
Following Samantha Smith and Curley, each with 21 points, Goldtooth added 8, Summer Charley, who also played well, added 7, as did Col’Bi Nez and Starla Smith. Paz finished with 6, and Summer Olney and Marissa Williams, 2 each.
On Saturday the Lady Roadrunners faced Tuba City for third place in the tournament. The Lady Warriors scored many first half points in transition and led 35-24 at the half. In the second half, after trailing by as many as 15 points, Holbrook applied full court pressure and rallied to take a three-point lead with less than a minute left in the contest. At that point a foul on a three-point attempt led to a tie game, then Holbrook fouled again following a missed scoring chance, sending the Lady Warriors back to the line where they made both attempts to win the game 54-52. Holbrook did get a good look at a two-point lay-in in the final seconds, but like many other close-in shots throughout the game, this one missed the mark as well, leaving the Lady Birds with just their fourth loss of the year.
“We struggled getting back on defense in the first half, but in the second I thought we did much better. Our full court press rattled them in the fourth and the girls did a great job of coming back to get a three-point lead,” said Coach Perkins.
“Unfortunately, missed free throws and a couple of mental errors in the final minutes led to the loss. Our turnovers were much better, but we still missed way too many close-in shots, and we missed 13 free throws. We know we are going to be involved in some tight games the rest of the way, and we need to convert free throws to be able to pull some of the close games out.”
Tuba City converted 13 of 15 free throws, while the Lady Roadrunners made just 12 of 25 at-tempts. Holbrook made four three-point shots, one each from Paz, Goldtooth, Curley and Mariah Cummings. The Lady Warriors made just one from behind the arc.
Curley led Holbrook with 12 points. Paz added 10, Nez, 8, Starla Smith and Samantha Smith, 6 each, Gold-tooth, 5, Cummings, 3, and Olney, 2.
Holbrook, now 16-4 on the season, heads into Winslow on Saturday, Jan. 5, for a huge matchup with the Lady Bulldogs. Winslow is favored by many to win the state title, after being the runner-up last season. On Tuesday, Jan. 8, the Lady Birds travel to Joseph City, a team responsible for one of their four losses, then on Thursday, Jan. 10, they host Window Rock and welcome in Valley Sanders on Friday, Jan. 11.
“Winslow has a very, very good team. Jerron has done a wonderful job with them and they are fairly young. We need to be at our best defensively to stay in the game with them on Saturday,” said the coach. “On Tuesday, we play Joseph City, which is a really tough matchup for us. They already beat us once this year, and we need to improve defensively to keep it from happening again.
“Window Rock, Valley and Winslow are the top three teams in the state, which just shows how difficult our January schedule is going to be. The good news is that all these games will help us prepare for the post-season if we can just win enough games to make it to state.”