2A defending champs beat Tse' Yi' Gai, improve record to 2-0

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

NAVAJO, N.M., Dec. 5, 2013

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(Times photos - Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Tse’ Yi’ Gai Lady Diné Warrior Chantel Toledo races down the court as Navajo Pine’s Brittany Bitsilly (20) defends on Tuesday in Navajo Pine, N.M.

BOTTOM: Lady Diné Warrior Taylon Sandoval (25) drives the ball for the basket against defending Navajo Pine’s Jennifer Begay on Tuesday evening in Navajo Pine, N.M.

With two games under their belts, the Navajo Pine girls basketball team has yet to scratch the surface in terms of where they want to be offensively and defensively.

The defending New Mexico Class 2A champs improved to 2-0 after Tuesday night's 59-23 win over future district foe Tse' Yi' Gai at Navajo Pine High School.

Next season, both clubs are expected to compete in District 1-2A with Pine Hill, Ramah and Shiprock Northwest under a new district alignment set by the New Mexico Activity Association.

"We still have a long way to go," Lady Warrior coach Aretha Mariano said. "We need to work on our mechanics to get better."

With only two lettermen that saw plenty of action last season at the varsity level, Mariano said one of the early challenges she's facing is getting her new crop of players to mesh together.

"I don't think we are there yet," she said. "We lost a lot of talent from last year's team but I think there are some pieces that we can build on. We just need to do some team building."

The Warriors returned junior starter Erin Dolfin along with senior Raquel Catron, who played extensively while coming off the bench last season.

"Erin is still trying to find her place on this new team," Mariano said. "She's our three-point threat so she's got the green light to shoot."

As for Catron, Mariano said she'll be out of the rotation until she gets healed up.

"She's going to be one of my leaders this year," she said.

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