By Greg Perkins
The Roadrunners posted one win against two losses at the 3A North Tournament of Champions held Dec. 27-29 in Chinle.
Playing just one game each day, Holbrook opened play against Monument Valley on Thursday evening. The Birds trailed by 10 at the half, but trimmed all but three off that margin with a solid third quarter. In the final period they came even closer thanks to Kyle Chee netting 10 of his team high 18 in the fourth. The Mustangs converted most of their free throws in the fourth, making 10 of 12 to hold off Holbrook and win the game 54-52.
Along with Chee’s 18, Miireux Begaii added 13, Robert Nelson, 6, Dontae Hollins and Marlin Martin, 4 each, Brandon Bitsui, 3, and Triston Zahne and Nathan Turley, 2 each.
The following day the Birds returned to the Wildcat Den to face Ganado, which had lost to Tuba City a day earlier. A slow start for both teams left Holbrook trailing 11-9 after one. Their deficit was three at the half, but a 21-point third period sent the game to the fourth period knotted at 42 apiece. In the fourth Ganado pulled out to as much as a five-point lead and still led by one with just under 10 seconds remaining. With Holbrook trying to find room against the Hornet defense in the final seconds, Begaii broke free for a driving layup with 2.9 seconds left on the clock, giving the Birds a 51-50 come from behind win.
Chee led the team in scoring with 15 points. Hollins kept the Birds close in the second half, hitting three treys, and scored 13 for the game. Begaii added 12, Bitsui, 7, and Bryan Tisi and Martin, 2 each.
On Saturday Holbrook met up with rival Winslow in the third and fourth place game. The Roadrunners played well in a defensive first half and led 18-15 at the break. The Bulldog defense took over in the second half forcing Holbrook turnovers and limiting the Roadrunners to just six points in the third and nine in the fourth to earn a 52-43 win.
Chee led Holbrook with 13 points. Begaii, Bitsui and Turley each netted 5, Martin and Nelson, 4 each, Hollins, 3, and Andon Hatch and Zahne, 2 each.
The Roadrunners head into Saturday’s (Jan. 5) regular season game at Winslow with an overall mark of 8-12. On Tuesday, Jan. 8, they will play at Joseph City, then host Window Rock on Friday, Jan. 11, and Valley Sanders on Saturday, Jan. 12.
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By Greg Perkins