Wednesday, August 5, 2020
63° Clear

‘In better shape than any team’

Patience pays off for Thoreau Hawks


Special to the Times | Curtis Ray Benally

Thoreau’s Donovan Saunders puts up a shot against Navajo Prep defenders in the third quarter of the District 1-3A championship game on Saturday, March 2, at the Eagles Nest in Farmington.

The Thoreau Hawks spent their entire season practicing patience.

It was difficult for a team that liked to run-and-gun. But since November, they’ve been waiting patiently for that moment when their practice would pay off.

The moment came at last in the district season and district tournament and the Hawks won the District 1-3A tournament championship, 48-45, over Navajo Prep last Saturday.

Thoreau coach Andrew Gordon said it was a moment his team had looked forward to.

“The boys are learning,” he said. “We’ve been trying to be very patient. And we work them hard, we run them hard, we never let them lay off. We are in better shape than any team.”

Thoreau started off the game against Navajo Prep with a quick 5-0 lead, which set the pace for the entire first half.

The two teams played tight defense and found trouble getting their shots off. After one quarter, the Hawks led 10-5.

Navajo Prep continued to struggle offensively in the second quarter, chipping at Thoreau’s lead while the Hawks continued to extend it.

Navajo Prep made an 8-0 run going into the half to trail 19-17.

Navajo Prep coach Rick Hoerner said he had one sick player and two others injured, which hindered them to an extent. He said it didn’t help that they had trouble on offense.

“We were a little undermanned today,” he said. “Lance (Morris) got pneumonia. When teams play us zone (defense) he’s our guy, and we didn’t do a very good job adjusting to that.

“Both our bigs are down, we can’t get the ball in the basket,” he said. “Thomas (Montanez III) is going to miss layups like that every game, it just happens.”

In the second half, Thoreau came out recharged and ready to continue dominating on offense.

They made a 7-2 run to lead 26-19. Navajo Prep caught up again to trail 30-29 before the Hawks executed again and led 36-29 after the third quarter.

With their backs against the wall, Navajo Prep came charging back in the fourth quarter tying the game up 41-41 with two minutes left.

Thoreau gained some leverage with a five-point play. They left the Eagles chipping at the score with little time left on the clock. Thoreau closed with the 48-45 win.

Hoerner said the loss was similar to some tough offensive games they have had earlier in the season.

He said the team knew that Thoreau could and would play tough.

“I thought we had plenty of opportunities,” he said. “In fact, we played good enough defense to win the game. We had this happen to us three or four times.

“I told coach Gordon, ‘I don’t want to play you guys, I’m more afraid of you guys than any other team,’” he said. “They were hot. I thought that was just the toughest team for us to have to run into and that’s the way it worked out.”

 To read the full article, pick up your copy of the Navajo Times at your nearest newsstand Thursday mornings!

Are you a digital subscriber? Read the most recent three weeks of stories by logging in to your online account.

  Find newsstand locations at this link.

Or, subscribe via mail or online here.

About The Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.


Weather & Roads

Window Rock Weather

44% humidity
wind: 10mph WSW
H 87 • L 59

More weather »