Diné baller leads Portales to Final Four

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Portales senior Sky Marianito returned to the Lady Rams lineup after suffering a MCL injury during the regular season. The Diné native led her team to a Final Four finish.


While most high school basketball players strive to be the best players on the team, Sky Marianito aspired to be a role model.

Marianito, a senior at Portales High School, always played up and found herself on teams filled with players older than her. Marianito hoped to be like them someday.

“I’m more of a Lady Ram now,” she said. “There always were so many seniors on the team, but they all graduated. Watching them graduate every single year, I would think of them as a big role model and that made me think that I wanted to be a role model like them.”

Finally a senior this season, Marianito got her wish.

She finished out her final season with the Lady Rams during the 2017 U.S. Bank State Basketball Championships this month. Portales ended their season in the Final Four when Hope Christian defeat them.

Marianito, 18, said it was the highlight of her season to be able to finish her final season in the University of New Mexico WisePies Arena also known as The Pit.

“I thought our team did really good going into the Final Four, not a lot of people expected us to be there,” she said. “I had a lot of faith in my teammates and myself that we could have made it farther, which we did. I was really proud.”

Marianito and the Lady Rams’ journey to The Pit wasn’t easy.

Marianito tore her MCL just before the district season began and her team had to do with out her before she returned for the state tournament. She said after those close to her reassured her she put in the effort to make sure she finished out the season.

She said there was a short moment when she wasn’t sure if she would be able to rejoin her team.

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Categories: Basketball

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.