Polacca, Ariz. - Ganado had to stage a fourth quarter rally to come from behind to beat Hopi, 62-57, in boys basketball action Tuesday night in Polacca. The Hornets improved to 16-8 overall and 7-4 in the 3A North Conference, where they are sitting in third place. The Bruins dropped to 4-18 overall and 1-9 in the 3A North. Ganado’s Lavon Salabye was held to 14 points on the night, but Manuel Rico topped the Hornets with 19 points and Kasey Bluehouse tossed in 16.
Still, it was Salabye pouring in eight points during the decisive fourth quarter to give the Hornets the victory. The other scorers for Ganado were Jimmy Tsinajinnie with eight, Tyler Pete and Ty Lynch with a deuce each and Rodrick Nez sank a free throw. Dellen Lomayestewa paced Hopi with 20 points, Chris Hawk netted eight, Garrick Jones tossed in seven, Matt Honani chipped in with five, Mack Talashie scored four, Ritchie Sahneyah, Thurman Tacheene and Michael Schjang had three each and Anthony Vaughn and Elmer Nahkalayah had a deuce each.
Vaughn pulled down a career high ten rebounds and Hawk hauled down eight boards. Bluehouse led Ganado with ten rebounds. Ganado Coach Rich Bratt said the Hornets had an off night shooting, but credited the Hopi defensive pressure with causing that. “We were lucky to escape with a win. Hopi outhustled us and we were fortunate to get the win,” he said. “Hopi’s defense had us out of synch.” Coach Bratt said the Ganado defense played well. “I wouldn’t give our defense an A, but I would give us a B,” he said.
“We did what we had to do on defense to win.” Coach Bratt credited Salabye with coming through at crunch time. “Salabye is unselfish, but when things are not going well, he’ll take over the game,” he said. Coach Bratt was disappointed with the Hornets play on the backboards. “We might have had a few more than Hopi, but with our size we should have dominated - and we didn’t,” he said. Bratt, who coached at Hopi High two years ago, said this was not a revenge match and he thought Hopi played well.
“The Hopi kids work hard and Jeff (Lambert) has grown up as a coach. He’s doing good things with the kids, and he has them hustling,” he said. Coach Lambert said the Bruins played well, but were hurt by poor free throw shooting. Hopi connected on four of 11 from the charity stripe while Ganado hit nine of 13. Coach Lambert said Hopi played well offensively, but too often failed to get back on defense quick enough and thus allowed Ganado too many easy breakaway baskets.
“We didn’t value the ball in crucial situations,” he said. “For example, Hawk would steal the ball and then give it right back.” Coach Lambert credited Lomayestewa and freshman Schjang with giving good defensive efforts to hold Salabye to 14 points “But we didn’t box out and Ganado had too many second and third chances,” he said. “The little things are killing us. The loose balls, the missed free throws and not valuing the ball. Once we start doing all those little things, we’ll start winning.”
Lambert, who served as an assistant under Bratt, said he was glad to see Bratt healthy after he recently had heart problems. “He’s a good coach, and he’s doing a good job with the kids,” he said. Ganado held slight leads for most of the game, but Hopi would keep coming back to tie the score. Hopi trailed 44-42 entering the final quarter, but started the period with an 8-2 spurt. Honani hit a free throw and Talashie sank a layup before Ganado’s Tsinajinnie interrupted with two free throws.
Lomayestewa hit a trey and Nahkalayah sank a layup as Hopi led 50-46 with 5:40 left in the game. This is where Ganado took control of the game with a 12 point tear as the Bruins didn’t score until 2:55 remained. Salabye started the winning rally with a trey, Bluehouse, Salabye and Rico sank layups, Salabye sank a free throw and another layup as Ganado led 58-50. Lomayestewa ended the drought with a trey to pull Hopi within five, but that was as close as the Bruins would get. In the first quarter, Ganado zoomed to a 12-6 edge only to see Hopi come back to tie the game at 12-12.
The Bruins tied the score at 22-22 in the second before the Hornets went on a nine point run. Ganado led at intermission 35-28. Hopi came storming back in the third quarter to outscore the Hornets by five points to pull within two, but this only setup Salabye’s fourth quarter heroics.