Tuba City Warriors win crucial 3A North conference game against Winslow High

Tuba City’s Devry Willis plays and drives hard during their win over Winslow (Photo by Anton Wero/NHO).

Tuba City’s Devry Willis plays and drives hard during their win over Winslow (Photo by Anton Wero/NHO).

TUBA CITY - The Tuba City Warriors won an important 3A North Region Conference match up at the Warrior Pavilion Dec. 12 over the Winslow Bulldogs (7-10, 0-4 conference) with a final score of 73 to 58. The Warriors improved their season record to 7- 7 and 4-2 in 3A North Region Conference play.

The Warriors' Tyrell Begay started the Warriors off and running with a bucket. Begay continued to score the Warriors first 10 points of the game. "Tyrell Begay stepped up for us," said Ross Williams, Tuba City head coach.

The Winslow Bulldogs answered with scoring from Chris Loscher, D. L. Nez and six straight points by Stacey Berg to tie the game at 10. With 3:54 minutes left in the opening quarter, the Warriors' Maurice Brown drove the lane for a bucket and one, completing a three-point play for the Warriors. The Bulldogs' Loscher quickly tied the game with a basket and one as he drove the lane, tying the score again at 13. Kellen Bennett started a 7-0 spurt, with a trey from the top of the key as the Warriors took the lead for good. Brown contributed four points during the run for the host Warriors and a 20-13 lead as the opening quarter ended.

"We knew we had to get off to a quick start and we did that,'" said Williams.

Loscher scored with a jumper inside the paint during the second quarter and was fouled, but didn't convert. This cut the lead to 20-16. The Bulldogs were only able to convert one point as the Warriors reeled off six unanswered points and continued to pull away with a double digit lead 27-17. The Bulldogs outscored the Warriors in the next two minutes, with nine points to four, behind four free throws and basket by Kraig Shirley. Evander Begay and Dale Dixon also scored a bucket apiece during the run while the Warriors countered with scores from Bo Ray Long and Joshua Begay. Five different Warriors combined on a 14-to-2 spurt and a 17 point lead as the half ended.

"We're 16 minutes away from winning a game, I told them in the locker room," said Williams. "We can't let up, keep playing hard, [I told them], and we did that," he added as the Warriors outscored the Bulldogs 16 to 12 in the third quarter.

"It was good to see us outscore them in the third quarter," Williams said, "We played everybody ... real hard [and] they all contributed."

Warriors who scored in the third stanza included Justin Little (2), Jacob Justice (2), Nolan Smith (2), Begay (2), Dugi (2) and Bennett (6). The Bulldogs were led in the third period by Evander Begay (1), Berg (2), Nez (2), and Loscher (2) while Dixon hit a three pointer with 3:23 left in the quarter and a lay in with the clock running out and the Warriors leading by 21 points with a score of 61-40.

The Warriors scored on a two-point bucket by Begay and a trey from Bennett, as the Bulldogs outscored the Warriors, 18 to 12.

"We got outscored in the fourth quarter but we had enough to win," said Williams. Dixon started the attack with three buckets as Kraig Shirley, Lakota Shirley, Nez and Bennett all combined for 18 points to keep within striking distance at the end. When the Bulldogs staged a comeback, they were also forced to foul as four different Warriors made a trip to the charity stripe with the game clock winding down. The Warriors converted on 7 of 9 free throw attempts and Begay and Bennett added a pair of bucket to seal the 15-point win with a final score of 73- 58.

"We got outscored in the fourth [quarter], we need to finish a little better," said Williams, "It was a great win for us. The boys feel good when they execute and play hard [and] the coaching staff is really proud of them."

The Warriors were led with a game high 18 points by Kellen Bennett, followed by Tyrell Begay with 16 points and Maurice Brown contributed 15 points. The Warriors hosted cross-town rival Greyhills Academy Jan. 15 in a non-conference contest. They will host Window Rock on Jan. 18 and travel to Ganado on Jan. 19 and play at Monument Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Winslow Bulldogs head coach Charles Gover said, "We didn't take care of the ball, we let them score, we didn't score. We just have to get better at what we are doing right now."

The Bulldogs played host to Chinle Jan. 15 and will host Ganado on Jan. 18 before traveling to Monument Valley on Saturday, Jan. 19 and then to Window Rock on Jan. 22.

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