POLACCA, ARIZ-- Call the Ganado High School boys basketball team the comeback kids. They have come from behind to win all the games they have won this year and the game against Hopi was no different.
Ganado used a full court press to overcome a 16 point third quarter deficit and beat Hopi, 72-63, in boys high school basketball action Jan. 24.
Ganado improved to 9-13 overall and 4-6 in the 3A North. Hopi fell to 4-16 overall and 2-7 in the 3A North.
Derrick Chosa topped the Hornets with 21 points, Joseph Wilson fired in 17, John Hubbel tossed in 10, Darrell Begay chipped in with eight points, Antone Panther chipped in with six, and Matt Cleaver and Ryan Roanhorse added five points each.
Michael Lomatewama paced Hopi with 21 points, Matt Lamson fired in 13, Jeremy Adams and Michael Thayer netted six points each, Vincent Timms tossed in five,
Renaldo Wartz pitched in with four points, Octavius Wartz and Shawn Honanie added three points and Marlon Parra had a deuce.
Hopi led throughout most of the game and led 49-33 with 2:55 left in the third period, but Ganado outscored Hopi 39-14 the rest of the way.
Lomatewama scored seven points in the opening period as Hopi grabbed a 12-10 edge. Chosa and Panther scored three points apiece during the period to keep Ganado close.
Lomatewama and Lamson scored six points each in the second quarter as Hopi led 33-20 at intermission. Chosa netted six points and Hubbel four to keep Ganado in the game.Lomatewama scored six points and Renaldo Wartz four as Hopi took a 49-33 edge with 2:55 to go in the third. Ganado closed the third period with a 17-2 spurt.
Chosa started the rally by draining three straight treys. After Thayer interrupted with two foul shots, Begay had a three point play, Wilson hit three foul shots and a jumper as Ganado closed within 51-50 going to the final period.
Cleaver hit a foul shot to tie the game. Adams hit a trey to give Hopi its last lead at 54-51. Ganado ran off the next 12 points: Chosa hit three foul shots, Cleaver hit two more free throws, Begay had a three point play, Wilson hit two foul shots and a layup to give Ganado a 63-54 edge with 4:10 left in the game. Timms hit a foul shot to pull Hopi within eight points, but the Bruins would get no closer.
Ganado Coach Richard Beverly said the Hornets have played well the last couple games and he warned them not to overlook Hopi.
"We struggled in the first half, but our defense caught fire in the second half. I told the team that we only have two weeks to play in the season. I'm proud of the way the boys played in the second half, but I'm upset that I needed to say anything to get them jump started," he said.
Winslow seems to have a lock on first place, but Coach Beverly said third and fourth place seem to be wide open.
Coach Beverly said the Hornets were not moving their feet and came out flat in the first half, but started working harder in the second half.
Wilson, an all-star starter, asked the coach if he could come off the bench and the coach complied, but felt it threw off the Hornets' chemistry.
"Hopi played a heckuva first half, but Wilson sparked us in the second half," he said.
Coach Beverly said the full court defense appeared to tire Hopi out and gave Ganado's offense energy. He said John Hubbel was crucial for getting the ball inside to his teammates.
Coach Beverly noted that all of Ganado's wins have come from behind.
"Our defense brought us back. In the first half, our defense was terrible. In the second half, we made adjustments," he said.
Coach Beverly credited Begay and Panther with leading the Hornets in rebounding in the second half, but he added that the overall leader was Wilson.
"The team goes where Joseph takes them," he said.