By Stan Bindell
Polacca, Ariz. - Ganado held Hopi to five points in the fourth quarter to come from behind and beat the Lady Bruins, 47-42, in girls basketball action Tuesday night in Polacca. The Lady Hornets improved to 15-11 overall and 4-6 in the 3A North. Ganado is in fifth place behind Monument Valley. Hopi fell to 15-11 overall and 4-7 in the 3A North. The Lady Bruins are in sixth place.
Jolene Benally topped the Lady Hornets with 13 points, Mary Shirley and Waynette Taylor pitched in with eight points apiece, Melissa Peterson tossed in seven, Alvina Nelson netted five, and Hope Willie and Tashina Baker scored three each. Trisha Tenakhongva paced Hopi with ten, Mallory Shattuck, Eudora Nodestine and Hannah Honani netted nine apiece, Chassity Gould added three and Thomasita Silas had a deuce.
Ganado Coach Gwynn Grant said the Lady Hornets started slowly, but came around in the second half. “In the first half, we lacked intensity. In the second half, we learned from our mistakes and came out with intensity,” she said. Coach Grant said there were too many times in the first half when the Lady Hornets were standing around on offense and too hesitant to shoot the ball. She added that the Ganado defense improved in the second half too. She credited this to “talking” because in the first half there were too many times when defenders were caught by screens because of lack of talking.
Coach Grant said Peterson played well on defense as she clogged up the middle and used her long arms to cause turnovers. “The crowd got us going in the second half, and that boosted us,” she said. “Peterson came up with a few steals and really hustled.” Coach Grant said Ganado did a good job on the boards, but felt the Lady Hornets could have come up with more offensive rebounds. Coach Grant said Ganado has the potential to pull off some upsets when the Lady Hornets get to regionals.
Hopi High Coach Rick Baker said the Lady Bruins played well until the fourth quarter. “We had a good team effort, but in the fourth quarter the ball just didn’t bounce our way,” he said. “We were tough for three and one-half quarters.” Coach Baker said Hopi became sloppy in the fourth quarter as they didn’t execute and just threw the ball away. He said the Lady Bruins should have done better on the backboards. Hopi led 37-33 going to the final period, but Ganado started the quarter with a seven point spurt. Taylor sank two free throws, Peterson hit a trey and Benally connected on two foul shots as Ganado grabbed a 40-37 edge.
Nodestine answered with two foul shots for the Lady Bruins as Hopi pulled within 40-39 with 3:33 to go. Peterson sank two free throws for the Lady Hornets and Gould answered with one for Hopi as the Lady Bruins were within 42-40 with 2:43 left. The teams exchanged turnovers and neither team scored until Benally hit one of two foul shots with 23 seconds left to give Ganado a 43-40 edge. After another Hopi turnover, Willie sank two foul shots to give the Lady Hornets a 45-40 lead. Nodestine sank a layup for Hopi with five seconds left and Peterson answered with a layup for Ganado as the final buzzer went off.
Hopi used balanced scoring in the first period to take a 10-7 edge. Honani netted four and Nodestine and Shattuck scored three apiece in the opening quarter. The Lady Bruins led by as many as six points in the second stanza. Nelson hit a rebound shot to tie it at 20-20 with 1:18 left in the half, but Honani hit a short jumper and Tenakhongva sank a hook shot as Hopi led 24-20 at intermission. Tenakhongva sank a layup and Honani hit a trey as Hopi led 29-20 with 6:35 left in the third. Ganado then went on a 11-2 run to tie the game at 31-31. Benally hit two treys and Shirley sank one trey during this tear, which put the Lady Hornets back in the game.
Hopi closed the quarter with a 6-2 spurt to regain the lead. Tenakhongva scored all six points during the tear. Ganado had 25 turnovers, but only ten in the second half. Hopi had 14 turnovers, but seven of those came in the crucial fourth quarter. Ganado out rebounded Hopi 30-18.