Alamo Navajo reaches SENAI finals 4 straight times

ALBUQUERQUE

The Alamo Navajo boys’ basketball team continued a tradition at the Striking Eagle Native American Invitational.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
To’Hajiilee Warrior Jayshawn Guerro, white jersey, drives the ball against Alamo Navajo Warrior Duran Cheney on Thursday in Albuquerque.

The Cougars have made it a habit of making the finals in the small-school division at this annual tournament.

Last Friday, Alamo Navajo reached the championship game of the Bear bracket for the fourth straight time after beating rival To’Hajiilee by a 65-56 count.

In the finals the Cougars came up short to Tsé Yi’ Gai for the second consecutive year as the Diné Warriors pulled out a 50-35 win.

Since taking over the program five years ago, Alamo Navajo coach Marcus Pino Sr. said they are accustomed to playing in the finals of the SENAI tournament. What made it even sweeter was playing To’Hajiilee to get there.

“They have always been our rivals,” Pino said. “They would win and then we would win so it just went back in forth. The boys are pretty happy we got this win. We need it because we want to go back to state. We just have to keep winning.”

To grind out the semifinal win, Pino said they made some good decisions late in the game as they killed some time after taking 57-53 lead on a trey by Dravin Yazzie with 3:32 to go.

“I told the boys to be patient, and don’t overplay things,” he said. “Plus that I have a bunch of sophomores. This team is kind of young so we’re learning still. I hope we get a lot stronger at the end of the season.”

With the new realignment year, this was the last meeting between the two squads this season. To’Hajiilee moved down a class while Alamo Navajo stayed in 2A.


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About The Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com