Arizona prep basketball
St. Mike's girls, Rock Point boys win
By Alastair Lee Bitsoi
WINDOW ROCK, December 13, 2012
I n area prep basketball Tuesday night, the St. Michael Lady Cardinals and Rock Point Cougars were victors here at the Window Rock Sports Center.
The Lady Cardinals defeated the Rock Point Lady Cougars, 41-40. In the boys contest, the Cougars whipped passed the Cardinals, 47-20.
The Lady Cardinals opened up the game from strong-perimeter shooting from LaKeisha Kee, Cierra Moore and Brooke Overturf. The trio combined for 17 of St. Michael's 19 first-quarter points for a 19-6 lead.
In the second quarter, Rock Point outscored St. Michael's 9 to 7. At the half, the Lady Cardinals held a 26-15 lead.
During half time, St. Michael's head coach Harry Moore reminded his team of the their need not to relax.
"We started out good in the first and second quarter," Moore said. "We were finally running our offense the way it should be. Basically, at halftime, I told them the same thing but the third quarter has not been our quarter all season."
Instead of listening to Moore, the Lady Cardinals saw themselves become stagnant. Their poor play in the third quarter, which Moore says has been an issue for his team this year, Rock Point came out in a press defense and reeled off to nine-straight points to knot the game at 26-all with 2:10 left in the third.
Rock Point's Amberlene Begay, Karla John, and Tia Begay each scored baskets off fast-break opportunities from their full court press. John's three-point play at the 6:18 mark in the third quarter sparked the Lady Cougar run.
By the time the third quarter concluded, St. Michael's held a 30-28 lead on jumpers by Kee and Overturf.
A jumper by Pashen Johnson and layup by Rosheen Curley, who led the Cardinals with 10 points, Rock Point took an early 32-30 lead in the fourth. The Lady Cougars stretched their lead to four points, 36-32, and had opportunities to widen their lead at the free throw line but went 1-for-4 at the charity stripe.
With 2:04 left in the period and a 37-34 lead, Rock Point committed a turnover, which proved to be a costly mistake because it led to Kee's third three-pointer of the night. Kee's trey tied the game at 37-all.
Rock Point had an opportunity to tie the game at 39-all, when Begay went to the free throw line, but she missed the front end of the one-in-one. Begay's missed three throw left her no choice but to foul Begaye, who sank both of her free throws for the 41-40 win.
Despite her team's lost, Rock Point head coach Marlla Begay said she was proud of the way her team fought from an early 20-point deficit.
"They were down by 20 and hustled back in the second half," Begaye said about the Lady Cougars, who own an overall 4-2 record. "Free throws got us in the end. We missed seven free throws in the last minute."
With their victory over Rock Point, the Lady Cardinals improve to 3-5 on the season.
"This game they had to work for it," Moore said. "They recovered and held it together. I am proud of my freshman girls, Ivonna Freeland, Hunter Begaye, Chael Moore and Kayola Denny. They've been getting a lot of playing time more so than my seniors. So far they have been doing pretty good."
Kee's 13 points led the Cardinals. Cierra Moore finished with nine points, while Overturf had seven points.
In the boy's contest, Rock Point took advantage of their team speed to outlast St. Michael, 47-20.
"Sometimes we go a little too fast even for our own good, so its about controlling it and using to our own advantage instead of a disadvantage," said Rock Point head coach Alicia Becenti.
Rock Point's run-and-gun style of play allowed the Cougars to build an early 10-0 lead. Wyde Descheny scored six of his 18 points during Rock Point's 10-0 run.
At the 2:23 mark in the first period, Becenti signaled to her second-string players to check into the game, which was when the Cardinals scored their only basket of the quarter. Rock Point held a 12-2 lead at the end of the first period.
The Cougars stretched their lead in the second quarter to 24-2, eventually holding a 26-2 halftime lead.
In the third period, the Cardinals found some success, scoring consecutive baskets by Brennan Curtis and Jaysen Ahasteen. Their points made the score 30-8, with 3:35 left in the period.
By the time the third period concluded, Rock Point held a 33-11 lead and maintained that lead for the 47-20 victory.
Even with the loss, St. Michael head coach Morris Denetdale said he saw glimpses of what his 1-5 team could be.
"We saw glimpses of it, but we need to put it together the whole game," he said. "We are getting there. We put one game together so far and we got more to go. It's a learning experience today and we'll definitely do better next time."
For Becenti, the way she sees it, the Cougars are still coming together as a team.
"Right now we're struggling but hopefully with this win it gives us the confidence that we need to continue playing the way we play tonight," she said, adding that the Cougars' next opponent is Grand Canyon on Saturday.
"They got tall players," she said about Grand Canyon. "My main concern is bringing them together as a team. We played together with confidence. The last few games we struggled and when we made a mistake we held on to it."