Feb 062013

The Lady Roadrunners saw a four-game winning streak come to an end in the final two games of the regular basketball season, but with another 20-win season, they have advanced to the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
Hosting fourth ranked Winslow last Wednesday Holbrook struggled from the field early and trailed 18-10 at the end of the first. In the second, the Lady Birds trimmed three points off the lead and trailed by five at the half. Winslow edged out to a 10-point lead through three quarters, then converted free throws down the stretch to eventually win the game 60-42.
“We played well, but just couldn’t score when we had the opportunities. Credit Winslow’s defense for that. We played tight and it looked like the pressure got to us a little,” said Coach Greg Perkins.
Samantha Smith led Holbrook with 11 points. Kaynasa Curley added 8, Brittany Baldwin, Teyah Gold-tooth and Starla Smith, 6 each, Jessica Paz, 4, and Summer Olney, 1. Holbrook went seven for 14 at the line and made five three-point shots.
Winslow had a balanced attack led by Mattea Begaii with 14. Shandiin Armao added 13, Halle Hayes, 10, Marcella Joe, 8, Kaelyn Bitsoi, 7, Lelane Benslow and Jacey Sangster, 3 each, and Tannon Tom, 2. The Lady Bulldogs went 11 for 24 at the line and hit one three-point shot.
On Friday night Holbrook lost a heartbreaker to Chinle, 47-46. Holbrook’s pressure defense created several Chinle turnovers, helping the Lady Birds build an 18-6 first period advantage. In the second Holbrook made five of six free throws and maintained a 33-23 halftime lead.
In the second half the Lady Roadrunners went ice cold from the field, scoring just eight points in the third and only five points in the fourth period. The Lady Wildcats took advantage, working their way back into the game until finally taking their first lead with less than 15 seconds left in the game. Several mistakes by Hol-brook in the closing minutes, along with one prior to the beginning of the game led to the one-point loss.
Goldtooth led Holbrook with 15 points. Starla Smith added 9, Paz, 7, Olney, 6, Baldwin, 3, and Curley, Col’Bi Nez and Samantha Smith, 2 each. The Lady Roadrunners made four three-point shots and went eight for 16 at the line.
Chinle was led by Macy Clauschee and Brittany Yazzie with 10 each. The Lady Wildcats made three treys and went four for seven at the line.
“Give Chinle credit for hanging tough and coming back to win. I made a mistake before the game began, giving them a two-point head start, and the team made too many mental errors in the final minutes, which they took advantage of,” said Coach Perkins. “This was a tough loss, as it was Senior Night for seven of our players and two managers.
“The good news is that we will still most likely host a first round state playoff game if things go like we anticipate they will in the three sectional tournaments held this week. The seniors on this team are amazing girls, and they still have a great opportunity ahead of them if we just buckle down and get after it in the state tournament. The last two seasons in girls’ basketball the eventual state champion was pretty obvious with Window Rock and Page dominating for much of each season. This year, there is no clear cut favorite. If the girls step it up and play as hard as they can we could be the last team standing in Glendale.
“We have to eliminate our mistakes and make shots in the paint that we have been missing, but our defense will be the key to the next couple of weeks,” said the coach.
Holbrook ended the regular season with an overall mark of 20-11. The Lady Birds qualified for the sectional tournament as the eighth seed and will have faced top ranked Valley Sanders on Tuesday night in Win-slow in the first round. If they were able to get a win, they will be playing either Winslow or Page in the second round of sectionals scheduled at Chinle on Friday, Feb. 8. Next week the Lady Roadrunners will most likely host a first round state playoff game on Wednesday, Feb. 13.