KIRTLAND, N.M. -The Shiprock Chieftains, led by former Winslow Bulldog and University of Arizona Wildcat Clifford Johns met Steve Scott, former Chinle Wildcats head coach and current coach for the Bloomfield Bobcats in the title game of the 2008 Webb-Toyota Basin Tournament. The Bobcats were victorious with a final score of 58 to 46 over the Chieftains.
Other tournament action included the host Kirtland Central Broncos beating the Aztec Tigers by a score of 62-51 for third place. The Monument Valley Mustangs were a 40-38 winner over the Whitehorse Raiders for the Consolation Championship, and the Bayfield Wolverines coasted to a 62 to 32 win over the Kirtland Central JV Broncos, for a seventh place finish.
Championship Game - Bloomfield vs. Shiprock
Devon Lapahie hit an opening trey for the Chieftains for an early lead, but the Bobcats responded with a 7-0 run for a 7-3 advantage. Ryan Rockwell drove the end for a bucket and Tyson Billy hit the money ball to retake the lead 8-7.
The Bobcats behind the scoring from Matt Crockett, Luis Vallaneva and Cade Payne closed out the opening quarter with seven unanswered points to take a 14-8 lead.
The Chieftains' Lapahie drove the lane to open the second quarter. He was fouled and connected on two free throws and added another bucket to close the gap. Payne answered for the designated home team Bobcats with a bucket before Lapahie started a 9-2 run for the Chieftains and a 22-20 score at the half.
After the intermission, the trio of Crockett, Payne and Sebastian Russell gave the lead back to the Bobcats. The lead briefly changed in favor of the Chieftians with a steal and a lay in by Julian Wahnee, followed by two free throws by Lapahie for a one point advantage, 26-25. Bloomfield's Russell, Payne, Cameron Curley outscored the Shiprock's Lapahie, Colby Nahkai, seven to five markers to retake the lead 32-31 at the end of the third quarter.
Wahnee had another steal after a full court pressure turnover and drove the length of the court for the Chieftain's final lead of the game. The Bobcats would take the lead for good, scoring nine points while holding the Chieftains to two points with a lead of 41 to 34. The Chieftains were forced out to the perimeter by the Bobcat's defense and the Bobcats continuously went inside the paint and scored from the charity stripe, making 17 out of 20 in the last five minutes of the game. The Chieftains were only able to hit three treys and fell short of the championship with a final score of 58 to 46.
Four Bobcats led Bloomfield (4-0): Luis Vallaneva with 15 points, followed by the tournament MVP Cade Payne with 12, Matt Crockett and Sebastian Russell added 10 points each.
"We really struggled at the free throw line in all our ball games, [but] tonight we went 17 of 20 to close out the game. We are still struggling offensively, but our defense is locking down and we are doing pretty well," said Coach Scott following the game. "I give a lot of credit ... to Shiprock. They're a very difficult team to defend with their perimeter game. Defensively, we're where we need to be, so on we go," he added
Devon Lapahie had 16 points and all-tourney team member Julian Wahnee added 10 markers to pace the Chieftains' (3-3) effort.
"It's early in the season. We have two months to go. There's a lot of development and improvement that has to happen. They got to see the game at a different level, a different type of play, a different ingredient that the game has to offer," Coach Johns commented in a post-game interview. "We want to add a different ingredient to our style of play - add a little more favor and taste, to the previous years and style of play."
"I'm happy with where we are at, [but] we want to smooth out the rough edges and get fundamentally sound," Johns continued. "Our goal is to take it one game at a time. Timing is important, setting the pace is important, staying healthy is important and most of all, peaking in February is important.
Consolation game - Monument Valley vs. Whitehorse
My, my, what a difference a year makes. Same game, same team, but different team members. This game was a rematch of last years Webb-Toyota Basin Tournament championship game, which played out with the same result as the Monument Valley Mustangs won over the Whitehorse Raiders from Montezuma Creek, Utah with a final score of 40-38.
Shayne O'Riley, Aaron Armendez and Mark Williams paced the Mustangs with 10 points to eight for the Raiders, who were led by Shawn Dickson and Kenny Whitehair in the first quarter.
Monument Valley called on Armendez, Shayn Begay, Preston Parrish and Norman Nabahe to outscore the Raiders' Dickson, Jonathan John, Keliah Holly and Josh John, 11 to 9 to take a 21 to 17 lead into the intermission.
Five different Mustangs combined for 12 points to five markers for the Raiders to take an 11 point advantage at the end of the third frame, 33 - 22.
The Raiders made a run, opening the final frame with Dickson's four points. Whitehair added a scooping basket to cut into the lead with six points, 28 - 33. Travis Martin went to the glass, driving and was fouled, added two free throws. A bucket from Whitehair with four minutes left in the game and two more free throws by Holly made it a one point lead for the Mustangs. A bucket by the Mustang's Armendez and free throw by Jonathan Delmar, Begay and Kendrick Kescoli sealed the deal for the Mustangs.
All-tourney team member Shayne O'Riley, Shayn Begay and Aaron Armendez all scored eight points each to lead the Mustangs (4 - 1) to victory.
"Whitehorse is a very tough team, they have great guards. Fundamentally they play pretty well and all we wanted to do was to play a very good defensive game. To hold them to 38 points attributes to our defense," said Monument Valley coach Jacob Holiday. "Offensively, we didn't execute very well. We were flat at times in the game."
Commenting on tournament experience, Holiday said, "Obviously, playing a different caliber of teams, [experiencing] different coaching styles in an area where we normally don't go, I think we grew as a team and we come away with that experience."
Shawn Dickson, who was named to the all-tournament team, had 15 points for the Whitehorse Raiders (2 -1).
"We're a young team. We're rebuilding this year. This tournament is just a learning experience. We are only going to progress and get better by playing the best teams out there," head coach Matt Baldwin said.
"Our defense is really looking good right now, we're starting to put it all together. We're cutting down on our mistakes, rebounding better and finding our personality and what works," he added.