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Tohatchi girls reach pinnacle with 3A state title

Tohatchi girls reach pinnacle with 3A state title

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
The Tohatchi Cougars rally around varsity girls basketball coach Tanisha Bitsoi after the New Mexico 3A girls state championship game at the Wise Pies Arena in Albuquerque on March 10. The Lady Cougars defeated top seed Eunice by a 57-50 count.


Everyday since 2011 the Tohatchi Lady Cougars have been making small steps towards the top of the ladder.

And at the top of that ladder they imagined holding onto the blue and gold state championship trophy, something they have worked every day to get within an arms’ reach of it.

Last Friday, in the 2017 U.S. Bank State Basketball Championships 3A title game, they finally reached the top of that ladder when they defeated Eunice, 57-50, for their first-ever girls’ basketball state title.

SLIDESHOW: NM Basketball Playoffs 2017Tohatchi head coach Tanisha Bitsoi said their win came from seasons of planning, trial and error, and growth, and now they’re happy to reap the reward and share it with those close to them.

“They’ve been on every ladder that we’ve taken from the Sweet Sixteen, to the Elite Eight, to the Final Four and now here in the champion game,” she said. “We are very happy, very humble, and very proud. These young ladies were able to bring Tohatchi’s very first state title, and as you can see the fans out there – they’re loving it.

They love these young ladies, they’ve been there with them all season and there’s no other words to explain it, but it’s such a great feeling for the community, for their families and for the school.”

The Lady Cougars were given the No. 3 seed going into the tournament and worked their way up the ladder and into the championship game with No. 1 seeded Eunice at the University of New Mexico’s Wise Pies Arena.

Their road to the title game seemed easy, beating teams along the way by 20 or more points, but their greatest test awaited them when they met Eunice.

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About The 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 or via cell at (505) 686-0769.