RED MESA - The Hopi Bruins boys improve their overall record to 6-11 and importantly 3-3 in the Arizona 2A North Conference with a 59-45 win over the Red Mesa Redskins (7-ll, 3-3) Jan 11. The Lady Bruins overcame a slow start with a win on the road over the Lady Redskins (1- 9, 1-5) and improved their season record to 5-7, and 5-1 in Arizona 2A North Conference with a final score of 48 to 44.
The Bruins fell behind 7-2 on baskets by the Redskins' Sedrick Horse, Ty White, Tyonous Smith and a free throw by Heath Sandoval. After a quick time out, Xavier Kewanyama sparked a Bruins comeback with three baskets. He was aided in scoring by Keith Pakovama and Roper Crook to take a brief lead. Sandoval drove the length of the court and scored with a lay in off the glass. Derrick Joe also scored with 2:07 left in the opening quarter to regain the lead for the Redskins. The Bruins and Redskins exchanged baskets as the quarter ended with the Bruins leading 16-13.
The Redskin's Shawnovan Kaneko opened up the second quarter with a trey, tying the game at 16. "We went to a full court pressure defense," said Rick Baker, head coach of the Bruins. "I think that helped a lot." The full court pressure caused numerous turnovers and the Bruins took their first double-digit lead with a score of 27-16.
Adrian Curtis, Braden Lee, Jeremy Calnimplewa and Kewanyama all contributed during the 11- point run. Continuing to apply pressure, the Bruins caused havoc for the hometown Redskins, who committed forced turnovers midway into the quarter. The Redskins regained their composure with baskets by Orvin Yazzie, White and Sandoval and cut into the lead. As the momentum seemed to shift, the Kewanyama's pass threaded the defense to Roper Crook who broke away for an easy bucket. A steal and a bucket by Ray Honyaana during the inbound play, increased the Bruins lead as the half ended with a score of 36 to 24.
"Making our lay ups and playing better offense helped us take control of the game," said Baker. Honyaana scored on another steal and then Kewanyama found Sherwin Wartz wide open for a score.
Honyaana returned the favor with a no look pass to Kewanyama who broke free on the baseline for a score with 4:32 remaining in the quarter and a 31-26 lead. The Redskins matched the Bruin's run, as they steadily stretched the lead to 17 points. Calnimplewa's breakaway lay up off the glass ended the scoring for the Bruins, as they led at the end of the third period, 51-34.
"We played some good defense down the line'" said Redskins head mentor Lee T. Begay, "Our shots [just] didn't go."
They began the final quarter with scoring from Sandoval, White and Joe, only to be countered with Roper Crook's basket and a free throw for the Bruins.
As the Redskins applied pressure to get back into game, Baker yelled instructions to the boys. "Play smart." And play smart they did as they held off the Redskin's offensive comeback when the Redskins scored back-to-back baskets by White and Joe. Joe ended the scoring for the Redskins with a free throw and driving lay in, as the Bruin's topped off their win on the road with a basket by Kewanyama, winning with a final score of 59 to 45.
"I think changing the full court pressure patterns [and] causing turnovers, was the difference in the game," concluded Baker.
"I'm not disappointed with the kid's effort," said Begay, "We did a good job."
Kewanyama led the Hopi Bruins in scoring with a game high 14 points, followed by Roper Crook with 12. Red Mesa's lone player in double figures was Heath Sandoval with 13 points with Derrick Joe contributing seven points.
The Bruins will travel to St. Johns on Jan. 17. They will then host the Valley Pirates of Sanders on Jan. 19, and travel to play the Greyhills Academy Knights on Jan. 22.
The Redskins played Greyhills Academy on Jan. 12 (results not available at press time) and hosted the Pinon Eagles on Jan. 15. They will travel to Many Farms on Jan. 18 and will host the Valley Pirates on Jan. 22.
The host Red Mesa Lady Redskins started the game by outscoring the visiting Hopi Lady Bruins 13-10 with points from four starters made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores, Mabelena Wartz, Allisha Tohtsoni, Vertrease Uentillie and Legenia Wagner contributed for Red Mesa while Khrystal Youvella, Evanna James, Samantha Clah, Annalese Nasafotie all scored for Hopi in the opening quarter. "They took advantage of our turnovers and sloppy play," said Lady Bruins head coach Ben Willey.
Adrianna Preston open the second period with a three pointer from the top of the key and a drive the lane basket with assistance from Tracy Billy and one free throw from Youvella after being fouled. The Lady Bruins regained the lead with a score of 16 to 15 with 5:50 remaining. Both teams traded baskets as the quarter ended with Lady Redskins taking a five-point advantage, leading 27-22.
"We noted we were missing a lot of baskets underneath and we had to stop unforced turnovers," commented Willey. The Lady Bruins then went to post player Clah as she scored underneath as well as a free throw. When she was forced from under the basket, she went outside to score a trey. The Lady Redskins collapsed on Clah again, so she swung the ball outside to Nichole Kisto who hit a trey. James also hit a three pointer plus a couple of buckets. The Lady Redskins countered the Bruin's scoring spurt with driving lay ups from Wagner who was unstoppable, scoring with six points along with Tohtsoni's pair of buckets and a trey from Wartz. When the third period ended, the Lady Bruins had a slim lead, 42 to 40.
"Both teams played good, solid and hard defense in the fourth," said Willey, referring to the total scoring output by both teams as the Lady Bruins outscored the Lady Redskins and clung to a four point victory after the Lady Redskins tied the game at 44 with a basket by Wartz with 6:15 left in the final frame.
"We can win in the end, if we just take care of business," continued Willey. "We hadn't done that in the past, [so] we lost a few games. As they came down to the wire, they are learning to take care of the ball," Willey concluded. The Lady Redskins head coach Alfred Begay commented after the game, "We're getting there. We're young and need more work. We lost some close conference games," he continued. "When it comes to 2A North Conference tournament, we are all even. It will come down to who wants it the most, and we will be ready."
Samantha Clah had a game high 14 points and Evanna James added nine points for the Lady Bruins. Allisha Tohtsoni contributed 13 points and Legenia Wagner scored 10 points for the Lady Redskins.
The Lady Bruins will play at St. Johns on Jan. 17 and host the Valley Lady Pirates of Sanders on Jan. 19. They will then travel to Tuba City and play the Greyhills Academy Lady Knights on Jan. 22.
The Lady Redskins played the Lady Knights on Saturday, Jan. 12 (results not available at press time) and hosted the Pinon Lady Eagles on Jan. 15. They will travel to Many Farms on Jan. 18 and host the Valley Pirates on Jan. 22.