Division III Section 1 tournament

Page dominates Alchesay, Holbrook downs WR

By Candace Begody
Navajo Times

CHINLE, February 9, 2012

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(Special to the Times - Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Window Rock Lady Scout Arianne Sheka (31) shoots as Holbrook's Shantina Kinlicheenie (24) defends Tuesday in Chinle. The Lady Roadrunners defeated Window Rock, 55-49.
BOTTOM: Page Lady Sand Devil Celeste "Boka" Claw (20) drives against Alchesay Lady Falcon Jamie Sanchez Tuesday in Chinle. Page defeated Alchesay, 50-25.

I t's a saying that every coach knows when the postseason arrives.

"This is basically the 3A North and anyone can beat you on any given night," said Page girls' head coach Justin Smith. "Alchesay could've beat us if we didn't play good tonight. We have confidence going into every game, but we didn't have more coming into this game."

On Tuesday, Page, the No. 1 team in Arizona's Division III, sent the No. 8 Alchesay Lady Falcons home with a 25-point loss after the first round of the Section I tournament.

Page took the lead early, scoring 7 points before the Falcons could score. The Sand Devils continued to dominate the first quarter, giving up 8 points but extending their lead to 17-8 at the end the quarter.

In the second quarter, Page went on a 17-8 run and ended the first half ahead, 34-16.

"I thought we played good defense, especially early on in the game," Smith said. "We took them out of what they wanted to do just with our ball pressure and intensity."

Page again dominated the second half and captured the win with a final score of 68-37.

Leading the Sand Devils to their first-round win were Celeste "Boka" Claw and Malorie Williams, scoring 17 and 20 points, respectively.

Also contributing were Amber Tso and Chelsea Rocke, both with 9 points.

Page will face Holbrook Friday night at 6:15 p.m. at the Wildcat Den.

"We've got to be able to execute offense and defend the three," Smith said of the Lady Roadrunners.

Holbrook 55, Window Rock 49

The No. 5 Window Rock Lady Scouts put their guard down for just one quarter in their first-round matchup against the No. 4 Holbrook Lady Roadrunners and made it a game of catch-up.

Both teams remained within range of each other ending the first quarter 12-8 in favor of Holbrook, and then 24-23 in favor of Window Rock at the end of the first half.

But in the third quarter the defending state champion Lady Scouts stopped playing basketball, according to Window Rock head coach Charles Chong.

"We played OK until the third quarter," Chong said. "We had a bad third quarter where we just stopped playing basketball and started just looking at each other - and that was the game."

In the third, Holbrook's Shantina Kinlicheenie drove inside the paint for a perfect jumper, then went for a steal and another two points, which sparked a momentum that would change the game.

Holbrook allowed the Scouts to score only 10 points in the third quarter as they extended their lead to 45-34 to end the third.

"We still hesitate," Chong said. "It's like we're afraid to play basketball sometimes and that hurts us. When they play well they look really good and when they hesitate, we get run over."

The Lady Scouts picked it up in the final quarter but time expired with a final score of 55-49.

"This is the postseason and we don't have room for that," Chong said of the teams' hesitation to play ball. "Now it's one game and you're out. If you don't come ready to play, it'll be the end of your season."

Chong said the loss gave the Lady Scouts much to think about.

"You only get to play at four state tournaments in your life. What are you going to do with it?" said Chong. "You can give up at this point or you can dig deep and play like there is no tomorrow, because there isn't one."

Leading scorers for the Scouts include Naomie Keah and Arianne Sheka, both with 14 points, and Aspen Shepard with 8 points.

As for the Roadrunners, they celebrated their victory before they have to play to face the No. 1 Page Lady Sand Devils.

"Obviously we're happy with the outcome," said Holbrook coach Greg Perkins. "This is a good to win for us and hopefully we can find a way to beat Page.

"We haven't seen them play but we will and we'll probably get scared," he added, "but come Friday, it'll be a matchup between a good defensive team - us - and what I know as a good offense team - Page.

"We're going to have to keep them off the three-point line and we're going to have to make some threes ourselves and handle what pressure they put on us," Perkins added.

Against Window Rock, Holbrook relied heavily on several key players.

Stepping up in Tuesday night's game were Shantina Kinlicheenie with 15 points, Kellin Bukurza with 17 points - four of which were 3-pointers - and Starla Smith with 11 points.

"We don't have any true star players, but what we do have is a group of girls that can all play good and at any given time two can step up and play well," Perkins said.

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