Police search say missing boy may be hiding in Fort Defiance, Sawmill area

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK, February 19, 2013

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L aw enforcement officers for the Gallup Police Department said Friday they are looking for a 16-year-old runaway they think is hiding out on the Navajo Reservation.

Cedric Taliman has been missing from his Gallup home since December 12 when his foster mother, Shirley Yellowfeather, said he left his home and never returned.

A few days before he went missing, he had threatened to run away and go to Oklahoma where he had relatives. But Yellowfeather, as well as police, think that the boy has been staying in the Fort Defiance or Sawmill area of the reservation with his girlfriend.

She said she didn't know the name of the boy's girlfriend or the name of any of his friends who may live on the reservation.

Navajo tribal officials for the Navajo-Fort Defiance Division of Social Services have also been helping out in the search for the boy. They believe that the boy is either in the Fort Defiance area or possibly living with friends in the Gallup area.

Taliman is described as being 5-feet-9 and weighing about 170 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He has a tattoo on his right shoulder and a scare on his right forehead.

Anyone with any information on his whereabouts is being asked to contact Gallup Police Detective Anthony Seciwa through Metro Dispatch at 505-722-2231 or the tribe's social services office at 928-729-4013.

Tohatchi boy's basketball team paying attention to details

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

The lead was never in jeopardy but every chance he got, Tohatchi basketball coach Albert Jim Jr. used every second of the game as a teachable moment.

A good example was when junior guard Ty Stevens struggled to connect from the free throw line with 52 seconds left in the ball game on Tuesday night against Zuni.

"I told him to lift the ball more because he was hitting the back of the rim," Jim said. "That was his struggle throughout the night, especially in the first half."

That tip seemed to have helped as the junior shooting guard made his second free throw attempt and finished the game with 15 points as the Cougars defeated Zuni by a 73-48 count.

"We went into a little slump the last two, three games," Jim said. "Our game plan was to work on the little details. We wanted to make it as fundamental as possible and get ourselves ready for that final stretch of the season."

That final stretch will determine the regular season champion as the Cougars are in a tussle with Rehoboth and Ramah for the district tournament's top seed.

"The race is still tight," he said. "I think we won't know who that is until the final game of the season is over with."

Earlier this week Jim said he was looking up scores and he was surprised with some of the outcomes.

"There are a lot of teams playing better now," he said. "We're starting to learn how to play with targets on our backs. Everybody is gunning for us because we're one of the contenders.

"Everybody is going to play their best game against us so we have to be ready," he added.

In Tuesday's game, that is what Zuni did for the initial six minutes as they trailed 11-8 on an inside basket by senior post Gaylon Cheeku.

Cheeku added another bucket later in the quarter, but the Cougars ended the first quarter on a 9-3 rally with junior Marcus Burbank scoring five of his game-high 23 points.

Kevin Wylie started Tohatchi's run with an inside bucket before Burbank stirred up the home crowd with a trey. And after forcing a turnover, he added a circus-like layup.

"We started out a little slow," Burbank said, while adding that they were getting ahead of themselves with sloppy play at both ends of the court. "We had to slow it down."

In the second quarter, things were working out better for them offensively and defensively as the Cougars put in 19 points while holding Zuni to only nine markers.

At one point Wylie, who finished with 8 points, stretched the lead out to 33-14 with 1:20 to go until the break on a bucket.

"We contested every shot and we forced a lot turnovers," said Stevens, who finished with 15 points.

"We really pride ourselves on our man-to-man defense," Jim added. "I haven't really been able to employ that type of defense until this year. I have a great group of boys who understand the man-to-man principals and that was our best defense."

With a 21-point lead at the half, the long-time Tohatchi coach went to his bench early with nine of the 12 players scoring.

"We put a complete game together," Jim said. "I want our guys to keep their focus. We don't want to be looking ahead so we are going to taking it one game at a time."

With the win Tohatchi improved their record to 13-9 overall and 9-1 in league play. On Feb. 5, the Cougars lost their only district game of the season to Ramah in a 59-38 debacle.

"That was a nightmare in itself," Jim said. "I am not trying to make any excuses and I am not trying to disrespect Ramah, but I thought that was our worst game this year."

Jim said a game like that helped get the team refocused and it took a lot of pressure off them.

"That was a blessing in disguise," he said. "We were resting on our laurels, which is a sin in basketball. That was a great wakeup call."

The Cougars have three games left in the season starting at Navajo Pine on Saturday. Next Wednesday they will host Rehoboth in an important matchup before closing out with Crownpoint next Friday, March 2.

Burbank said the perks of winning the regular season district title means a higher seed for the state tournament bracket.

"Maybe we have a chance of playing at home for state," he said. "We'll see what happens."