Tuba City wins low-scoring affair against Page

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, Feb. 13, 2014

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The latest Tuba City and Page rivalry ended in another low-scoring affair.

With Page running a half-court offense, Tuba City boys basketball coach Ryan Brown knew what was in store.

With both teams having a quiet night shooting, the first-year coach said this contest came down to defense and free throw shooting as Tuba City held off the Sand Devils by a 41-39 count in the opening round of the Sectional I basketball tournament on Wednesday night at the Wildcat Den in Chinle.

"Every time we play Page it's always a low scoring defensive game," Brown said. "It's always been that way with them."

It was the sixth straight victory for Tuba City but they did receive a scare as the No. 3 seeded Page team earned an eight point lead late in the third quarter.

"We were down for most of the game so we had to make some adjustments," Brown said. "Page slowed down the pace and they had the momentum so we decided to go to man-to-man and that made a difference."

What also helped was the Sand Devils were limited at the guard position when starting point guard Jamaal Thomas got into foul trouble.

According to Brown, Thomas was not as aggressive as he was in the opening half.

"We pressured their guards and that was the one advantage we had tonight," he said. "We wanted to exposed that and we crawled our way back into the game where we forced some turnovers."

Brown also said they were able to get to the foul line as they made 6-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter, including 3-of-4 in the last 45 seconds of the game.

Down the stretch senior guard Alonzo Thompson made 2-of-2, which iced the game for the Warriors as they will play top-seeded Chinle in the finals on Saturday night.

The Wildcats got past Monument Valley, 71-48, on their side of the draw.

"We're expecting a good match up," Brown said of Saturday's finals. "We're looking forward to playing Chinle again but this puts us in the position to play for another championship game."

In Wednesday night's win, senior post Tyler Johnson and junior guard Tristin Begay both finished with 11 points.
For Page, Michael Redbear had 14 while Carson Wright had 12.

In other action, the Red Mesa and Red Valley-Cove boys basketball lost their opening round sectional tournament games at Greyhills High School.

No. 2 seed Red Mesa dropped a 73-66 decision to No. 3 El Capitan while top-seeded Grand Canyon had its way with Red-Valley Cove by posting a 76-44 victory.

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