Tuba City, MV netters seeded 1-2 for region tournament
The Monument Valley Lady Mustangs will start its tournament title defense today against No. 7 Alchesay.
The Mustangs were given the No. 2 seed for the two-day 3A North Region tournament, which Tuba City High School is hosting.
MV swept Tuba on Wednesday night in the regular season finale as both teams finished with identical 11-1 records in the region.
“The girls have identified their goals, and they’re very focused on what they want to achieve,” longtime MV coach Rennell Gilmore said. “Going into this regional tournament, they know what they want out of it, so they’re looking to be there on Saturday.
“It’s nice that we have a regional tournament,” she added. “It keeps us moving, and it keeps us in the game because a lot of the (playoff) teams won’t have a game until the state tournament.”
MV will play Alchesay at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the late game.
Other first-round pairings for the seven-team tournament include No. 4 Chinle taking on No. 5 Window Rock at 4 p.m. and No. 3 Page squaring with No. 6 Ganado at 5:15 p.m.
Top-seeded Tuba City will have a bye into the semifinals as they will play the Chinle/Window Rock survivor at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The MV/Alchesay winner and the Page/Ganado survivor will play at 11:30 a.m.
The championship game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Tuba City coach Brittany Laughter said the last time the Warriors hoisted the regional tournament crown was in 2019. She’s expecting her team to challenge for this year’s title.
“We want to come out on top and be this year’s regional champion,” she said.
The Tuba City coach is expecting a competitive tournament with some of the lower seeds looking for an upset.
“Throughout the last two weeks, we’ve seen our region teams play at a more competitive level,” she said. “They’re improving every game, as they should. It’s good to see because, on any given day, a team at the bottom may beat you.”
The Tuba City coach is looking for her team to bounce back from its three-set loss to MV, as the Mustangs won easily. The set scores were 25-13, 25-11, and 25-19.
“The loss to MV opened our eyes,” she said while adding that any team can be beat regardless of where they’re ranked.
In Thursday’s Arizona Interscholastic Association’s statewide rankings, Tuba was ranked sixth, while MV held the No. 9 spot.
According to both coaches, the regional tournament results will not affect the state’s power rankings, as the top eight teams will get a bye into the 16-team tournament.
Teams seeded No. 9 to 24 will have to contest a play-in game to make the 16-team field.
With their work during the offseason, Gilmore said they’re somewhat disappointed with where they’re at in the state rankings.
“I think we could have done better in earlier games to make ourselves higher in the state rankings,” she said. “But it’s good that our underclassmen know how it works now. They have a better understanding in knowing that every game counts, whether it’s at the beginning of the season or at the end.
“I think for next year, they got a heads up on what to expect for next season,” she added.