To’Hajiilee stifles Tsé Yi’ Gai in Bison finale

ALBUQUERQUE

The To’Hajiilee Warriors used defensive pressure to pull away from Tsé Yi’ Gai in the boys’ final of the Bison bracket at the 2017 Striking Eagle Native American Invitational.

With a 20-19 lead at the break, the Warriors scored the first 15 points in the third quarter to break open the game as they came away with a 60-42 victory last Saturday at Johnson Center at the University of New Mexico campus.

“We knew that we were able to press them,” To’Hajiilee coach Leslie Gaztambide said. “The strength of their team is their post play and their post players are outstanding. Their guards are a little younger and ours were a little more experienced so we could expose that.”

In that scoring surge, the Warriors forced six turnovers and they converted each time with senior Trevor Platero scoring six of his 22 points. Senior Cheston Platero added five while Trent Guerro added four in that run as To’Hajiilee led 35-29 with just under four minutes left.

Tsé Yi’ Gai junior Douglas Whitehorse broke a four-minute scoring drought with a putback. That basket seemed to inspire the rest of the Diné Warrior squad as they put together a 13-5 run to close out the third quarter.

During that rally, Tsé Yi’ Gai got a pair of threes from junior Pollex Rafael and freshman Sheldon Castillo to get them going as Whitehorse ended the quarter with another bucket as Tsé Yi’ Gai trailed 40-32 heading into the fourth.

Early in the fourth, freshman Adriano Toledo split a pair at the line that pulled Tsé Yi’ Gai to 44-36.

That was as close as they would get as To’Hajiilee forced the issue with their defense again. The Warriors scored on seven straight possessions with Trevor Platero putting in eight of his 22 points.

To’Hajiilee also had junior Jarvis Begay finish in double figures with 11 points while Cheston Platero and Jayshawn Guerro helped out with nine points each.

Despite falling short in the championship game for the second year in a row, Tsé Yi’ Gai’s Edwin Chiquito was pleased with the effort turned in by his squad.

“We’re a young squad,” he said. “I have two freshmen on the team that start and I have (two) seniors on the team. I am proud of the kids, they work hard.”


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Categories: Basketball

About 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