Shiprock boys take third at Hope Christian

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Shiprock Chieftain Cota Nahkai (44) retrieves a rebound ahead of Taos Tiger Jude Suazo (10) 32nd Annual Hope Christian Basketball Invitational in Albuquerque on Jan. 14.


ALBUQUERQUE

The Shiprock Chieftains continued a trend at the Hope Christian boys basketball tournament.

The Chieftains took home the third place trophy for the second year in a row by turning back a familiar foe. Shiprock ramped up their defense just in time as they edged Taos, 57-51, in a rematch of last year’s third place matchup.

“We knew it was going to be a very tight ballgame,” Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty Jr., said. “Going in they wanted to get back us from last year but we did the things that we needed to do. They did an awesome job.”

In this back-and-forth affair, neither team gained more than a five-point advantage. On two separate occasions Shiprock got ahead by that margin with the first one coming at the 1:24 mark of the opening quarter when junior Arvin Begay capped a personal 7-0 run with a trey for a 18-13 advantage.

Taos, however, went inside and cut that margin with a quarter-ending 4-0 rally and trailed 18-17 going into the second behind the play of senior post Landon Archuleta.
Archuleta scored seven early points to start the second as his two free throws with 2:28 left in the half gave Taos a 26-22 advantage.

“We tried to put a dent in that area but Taos did a good job exploiting the high post,” Atcitty said.

For the last two minutes, Shiprock turned the tables and finished out the second stanza on a 9-0 run with four different players scoring for a 31-26 halftime lead. That run included a trey by senior Landon Henderson, who finished with a team-best 16 points.

After the break, Shiprock saw its lead evaporate as Taos battled back and pull within 33-32 on a layup by sophomore guard Martin Jaramillo with 3:42 left in the third quarter.

Both teams traded baskets until Taos gained a 36-35 edge on a putback by Archuleta. The Tigers upped the lead to three points but in the waning moments, Shiprock’s Kevin Begay threw up a prayer near midcourt.

His prayer was answered as he leaned into a Taos player and was fouled. He calmly sank all three free throws and he tied the game at 38-all.

In the fourth, Begay was clutch at the free throw line as he hit 5-of-6 free throws for a 44-42 lead midway through the fourth.

The Chieftains then hit 9-of-14 free throws sandwiched in between a trey by Henderson as they held Taos off.

“These guys did a good job with it going back and forth, back and forth,” Atcitty said. “And we made our free throws when we needed them.”


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Categories: Basketball

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at
qjodie@navajotimes.com