New Mexico boys prep basketball

Crownpoint ends Tohatchi's four-game winning streak with tip-in

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

TOHATCHI, N.M., Jan. 23, 2014

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(Times photos – Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Tohatchi Cougar Shawn Murphy makes a move around Crownpoint Eagle defender Avery Jodie (12) on Wednesday night in Tohatchi. Crownpoint defeated Tohatchi, 47-46, with a last-second shot.

MIDDLE: Tohatchi's Justin Smith, white jersey, keeps Crownpoint's Rondale Begay from stripping the ball from him on Wednesday night in Tohatchi. The Eagles defeated Tohatachi, 47-46.

BOTTOM: Tohatchi Cougar Jaden Dolfin (32) grabs the ball as Crownpoint's Nicholas Chischilly (5) and Tyler Charley (32) reach to try and knock it away Wednesday in Tohatchi. Crownpoint won, 47-46.

The wonderful thing about muscle memory is that it does not go away.

In the case of Crownpoint junior Nicholis Chischilly, his response to a missed shot became automatic as lifted the Eagles to a come-from-behind 47-46 win over Tohatchi in New Mexico prep boys basketball action on Wednesday night.

With six seconds left in regulation, the Eagles ran a out of bounds play near their bench and after a missed shot by Avery Jodie, Chischilly tipped in the game winning shot at the buzzer.

"It was just a reaction," said Chischilly, who finished with nine points. "I was just totally focused on trying to win but it really didn't sink in right away.

"Man it feels real good to win a game like that," he added. "I've made a couple of game-winning shots before but not nearly as big as this one."

Crownpoint coach Shawn Miller said he was glad to see junior forward step up and remain confident, especially after he committed five early turnovers.

"Everyone makes mistakes but Nicholis stayed positive and he kept playing," Miller said. "He didn't let that affect him and he just brushed it off and he did a good job of crashing the boards for us in the second half.

"And that last offensive rebound was the game winner for us," he added. "It really turned himself around."

With the win the Eagles even their record to 8-8 for the year and more importantly they improved their district record to 3-1.

Chischilly's basket ended Tohatchi's four-game winning streak but in the moments before that it appeared as if the Cougars had this game under their belts.

Tohatchi senior Shawn Murphy hit two free throws for a 45-43 lead with one minute showing on the clock. And after a Crownpoint turnover, Marcus Burbank connected on 1-of-2 free throws, which capped an 11-0 run that took two minutes to complete.

At the other end, Crownpoint senior Justin Largo had a chance to tie the game but he failed to complete the old-fashioned three-point play with 47 seconds left in the game.

Tohatchi tried to protect their one-point lead by eating some clock but with less than 20 seconds left, Crownpoint's Rondale Begay came up with a huge defensive stop and blocked a layup attempt by Jaden Dolfin.

"The game plan was to go into our delay game," Tohatchi coach Albert Jim said. "And we just made that mental mistake where we tried to force it in there and we had a turnover…those little mistakes become magnified."

As for the tip-in by Chischilly, Jim said they failed to block out.

"We knew who was going to take the shot and we knew what was going to happen," he said. "But again we made a fundamental error and if we don't learn from this we are going to make it difficult on ourselves."

After scoring the game's opening basket, the Cougars had to play catch up as Crownpoint built a 16-11 lead with 6:01 remaining in the second quarter on a basket by Begay, who finished with 17 points.

The Cougars chipped away at that deficit and they momentarily took at 17-16 lead with Luke Gibson scoring four of his six points.

The lead changed hands one final time as Crownpoint took a 20-18 lead at the half on a late basket by Begay.

After the break, Tohatchi senior Marcus Burbank broke out of a slump and scored the first five points for the home team.

The senior guard nailed a three-pointer and after a turnover by Crownpoint he hit a layup for a 23-20 lead with 6:21 to play to the third.

Crownpoint, however, responded with a run of their own as Largo scored 10 of the Eagles' next 12 points.

Largo, who finished with a game-high 19 points, made two treys and hit a pair of layups with his final one giving Crownpoint a 34-24 cushion with 1:45 to go.

"I'm really happy that everyone stepped it up," Largo said as he downplayed his performance when asked about his third quarter outburst. "This was a big team win for us."

After gaining that 10-point edge, Largo admitted that his team relaxed as Tohatchi came roaring back.

"We kind of broke down in that fourth quarter but we knew that we could finish this game strong," he said.

In the losing effort, Tohatchi had two players in double figures with Burbank scoring 11 points and Justin Smith adding 10.

With the loss, Tohatchi drops to 10-5 for the year and 3-1 in league play.

"With the district being eight teams, I always professed that no one is going to go undefeated in this district," Jim said. "This year it's a little bit more competitive and every team in the district has a loss now so nothing is going to come easy."

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