No. 7 Alchesay upsets No. 2 Chinle in Arizona sectional tournament

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

CHINLE, Ariz., February 7, 2013

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It was his only successful basket of the game, but the Hail Mary shot from Richard Caddo lit a match to heat things up for the Alchesay Falcons.

With exactly one second left in the third quarter, Caddo took an inbounds pass and threw up a desperation shot from midcourt that gave the Flacons a 52-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

That shot spurred an already boisterous Wildcat Den crowd as the Falcons posted a 70-61 win over No. 2 seed Chinle in the first round of the Arizona Division III Section I tournament on Wednesday night.

"I think that kind of took the wind out of the other team," Alchesay coach Kyle Goklish said. "That's what it does when you have a game-changing shot like that."

On paper, Alchesay entered the sectional tournament as the No. 7 seed, but with rankings and records put aside Goklish said they have a legitimate shot of winning the tournament on Saturday night.

Of course, they have to get by No. 3 seed Snowflake on Friday.

"We've played a tough schedule," Goklish said. "We played against a lot the former 3A East opponents and they have football boys so there was a lot of banging. It does wear a lot on the body, but it helped us get prepared."

In Wednesday's game, Goklish said the difference came down to poise and for the most part they handled Chinle's press.

"We like to go up and down the court, but we do that under control," he said. "Our boys are really team-oriented and if the (shot) is there we'll take it, but if not we don't force it."

By doing that, the Falcons did a good job of helping each other as they spread the offense among nine players with junior forward Arnold Walker leading the way with 32 points while senior Koery Goklish added 11.

Chinle, meanwhile, had three players in double figures with senior Searle Tracy putting up 15 points. Wyatt Zuni added 14 and Kevin Yazzie helped out with 11.

Tracy scored five of his points in the first quarter that saw a few lead changes before Alchesay took a 17-16 lead at the end of the first.

The Falcons opened the second quarter with five straight points, but with 3:20 left in the half Chinle pulled within 26-24 on a putback by Richard Draper, who finished with eight points.

But for the next three minutes, Alchesay hit four midrange buckets to go up 34-26 with Walker and Jarron James scoring four points each.

The lead, however, was cut down to six points at the break on a layup from Tuni with one second to go.

"We did a really nice job of finishing their shots," Koery Goklish said of their first half play. "We took care of the ball and we got in a few fastbreaks."

In the second half, the Falcons got a few more baskets like that, including one that broke a tie as Walker scooped in a layup for a 45-43 lead with 2:23 to go.

That basket by Walker started a quarter-ending 9-3 run, which ended with Caddo's half-court shot.

From that point on, it seemed like the Falcons had the momentum as Chinle missed 15 shots in the fourth quarter, including six from downtown.

"We didn't play defense," Chinle guard Kevin Yazzie said of their shooting woes. "If we can't play defense we can't convert and that is where our offense comes from."

And although they are disappointed with the results, Yazzie said this will help them get focus for next week's Division III state tournament as the Wildcat's are expected to get an at-large bid.

"I think (the loss) will bring us together," he said. "We'll use this as a wake-up call."

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