Holbrook girls catches break, beats injury-depleted Alchesay squad

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

HOLBROOK, Ariz., Feb. 8, 2014

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The Holbrook girls basketball team caught a break on Friday night.

After losing five of six games entering their regular-season finale, the Lady Roadrunners (21-8) played a much different Alchesay team. Needless to say, the Lady Falcons (19-9) had some depth issues at the guard play as they were missing its two best ball handlers, including senior point guard Raleigh Johnson.

"We did catch a break tonight," Holbrook coach Greg Perkins said. "They were missing their top two guards but we didn't know that until tonight."

That impact became significant as the Roadrunners broke a 22-22 halftime stalemate into 57-43 win.

"We are not normally a full-court pressing team but when you lose your front two guards then you try to take advantage of that situation," Perkins said. "I knew we would have some success pressing. We got some steals and some points out of it."

After playing courageously for one half of play, the Falcons became undone at the start of the third. While facing some pressure, they opened the second half with 10 early turnovers as Holbrook built a 34-24 cushion on layup from junior Teyah Goldtooth off a steal with 3:29 left in the third quarter.

"We had 38 turnovers and that was what really hurt us," Alchesay coach Leann Lacapa said, adding that there was a discrepancy in free throw shooting.

For the game, Holbrook connected on 26-of-34 free throws while the Falcons made 2-of-5 from the charity line.

"They shot quite a bit more free throws than we did," she said. "We only shot five."

Perkins admitted that those marches to the free throw line might have altered a lot of people's mind on how the game was called but he attributed that disparity to their aggressiveness to the basket.

"We made our free throws and we talked all week about being aggressive," he said. "I know a lot of people might say it was a ref's game but we have been aggressive with the ball…it showed tonight and luckily we shot a good percentage at the free throw line."

Twenty-four of those trips came in the second half as Holbrook opened a 45-30 cushion after junior Cheyenne Lester connected on three free throws after she was fouled while attempting a three-point shot with 6:06 left in the fourth.

Lester, who finished with seven points, was one of three players that made all their free throw attempts as she went 5-for-5.

Junior forward Rochelle Nez was 6-for-6 for 14 points while teammate Dena Kinlicheenie went 4-for-4 and scored eight.

Holbrook junior Teyah Goldtooth connected on 7-of-10 free throws and finished with a team-best 15 points.

Alchesay senior Patricia Tessay finished with a game-high 17 points.

With the win, the Roadrunners improves to 6-2 in league play and finished as the No. 3 seed for next week's sectional tournament, which starts on Tuesday at Show Low High.

Holbrook will open the tournament with No. 2 seed Snowflake. On the other side of the bracket, top-seed Winslow will face Payson as the Lady Longhorns earned the No. 4 seed over Alchesay as latter two teams finished 4-4 in league play.

"If we had lost we would have played Winslow on Tuesday," Perkins said. "This was big win for us mainly to get some confidence back because we were on a downhill spiral."

For Alchesay, they will have wait until the brackets for the Arizona Division III girls basketball tournament are released after the conclusion of the sectional tournament.

Entering Friday's regular-season finale, the Falcons were ranked No. 15 in the latest statewide polls with the top 24 making the field.

"I think still have a good chance of making the playoffs but a win tonight would have secured our spot," Lacapa said. "It's going to be tougher but if we had won some of our previous games it would be much easier."

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