Lady Chieftains earn spot in final four after defeating Navajo Prep
There wasn’t much else the Shiprock Lady Chieftains could do.
They met their opponent, Navajo Preparatory School, three times before meeting a fourth time in the quarterfinals of the New Mexico high school state championships, so they went back to the basics and clinched the win 65-52 to advance to the 4A semifinals.
Shiprock’s struggle was obvious as they didn’t play with the familiar energy and pace necessary to dominate opponents. Shiprock meets No. 3 Robertson today at 11:30 a.m. at the University of New Mexico’s The Pit.
Shiprock head coach Larenson Henderson said when uncharacteristic things happen he simply has to have his team roll with the punches.
“Some little ordeals happened … and we still want to be coaches, but at the same time we still want to teach other lessons beside playing ball,” he said. “Hopefully we get over things and get going by Thursday.”
Shiprock took a small, early lead over Navajo Prep 13-6 in the first quarter. They slowly stretched their lead in the second quarter to 10 points and eventually 12 to lead 33-21 at the half.
Navajo Prep continued to battle back.
Navajo Prep head coach Rainy Crisp said her team came into their game with renewed confidence and that eventually gave Shiprock problems.
“The main thing we changed for the state playoffs was just coming out a lot more aggressive,” she said. “I think it worked. We surprised Silver in the first round with our aggressive defense and I think we did the same thing with Shiprock.”
After a pep talk at the half, Shiprock came back with a lot more intensity in the third quarter. They outscored the Lady Eagles, forced turnovers and capitalized on Navajo Prep’s missed baskets. Shiprock had the 52-33 lead over Navajo Prep after three quarters.
Henderson said his team just needed to regroup.