GANADO - The Ganado Hornets held off a late surge by the Tuba City Warriors to win an important Arizona 3A North Region conference game at home with a final score of 72 to 64. The Hornets upped their season record to 9-13 overall and 2-8 in 3A North conference play. The visiting Warriors dropped to 9-9 for the season and are 4-4 in the 3A North conference.
After a tough road loss on Friday night to the Window Rock Scouts by a score of 72 to 50, Coach Beverly of the Ganado Hornets offered these words of encouragement: "If you guys are going to make something happen this year, you [guys] better get busy."
With that in mind, Ganado's Kevin Chosa, Stetson Silvers and Kameron Bluehouse combined for five points in the opening quarter to set the pace of the game. The Warrior's Maurice Brown answered with a bucket as they trailed 5-2. The lead changed six times, but as the quarter ended, the Warriors were clinging to a one-point lead, 16-15.
Colin Begay of Ganado opened the second quarter with a lay in to retake the lead. Ernest Johnson and Brown answered with buckets for the Warriors in a seesaw game. The Hornets regained the lead on a driving bucket by Silver and then went on a 14 to 11 run, taking the lead for good as the quarter ended in favor of the Hornets, 35 to 31.
"You're doing a great job, keep doing what you are doing," remarked Coach Beverly. He continued, "Keep up the intensity. The first four minutes of the second half [are] the most important minutes of the game you could play."
Indeed they were. During the first four minutes of the second half, the Hornets scored eight unanswered points to extend their lead, 43-31. Brown ended the Warrior's scoring drought with a put back and was fouled. He could only convert on one of two free throws, cutting the deficit to 43-32.
"Don't let them come out and out-energize you," said Coach Beverly during a time out, "Make sure you go out there and dictate what's going to happen out there [on the floor]."
The Hornets outscored the visitors 19 to 5 in the quarter-implementing a full court pressure and causing forced turnovers-to take a 18 point lead, 54-36.
Not to be denied, Warriors head Coach Ross Williams went to a full court press and Brown forced turnover after turnover as his teammates were able to steal five straight passes and convert them into points. Joshua Begay, Darin Begay, Bennett, and Brown contributed to the comeback, cutting the lead to eight points, 59-51.
"[We] started to turn the ball over and got antsy," said Coach Beverly, "Tuba [City] stepped up and the boys started to panic. They fought back and got to within one."
He was speaking of the 13 to 6 run by Tuba City and cutting into the lead. The Warriors were forced to foul and the Hornets converted on five of six free throws and an uncontested basket by Colin Tsosie for the hard fought win. The final score was 72-64.
"Great win for Ganado, I will never fault these guys' effort," said Coach Williams, "We got to try to peak and play our best basketball by the regionals and this team is very capable of doing that."
Colin Tsosie had 12 points and Orin Joe, Cody Tsosie, Marcus Begay, all had eight points for the Hornets. The Hornets traveled to Holbrook Jan. 22 and will host Window Rock Jan. 25 and finish the Arizona 3A North Region conference regular season at Monument Valley Jan. 29.
For the Warriors, Maurice Brown had a game high 20 points while Kellen Bennett and Joshua Begay added 14 and 13 points respectively. The Warriors were on the road to Monument Valley Jan. 22 and will host the Chinle Wildcats Jan. 25. They will then be on the road to meet Winslow Jan. 26, and will conclude their 3A North Region conference regular season at Chinle Feb. 1.