KAYENTA, Ariz. - The Tuba City Warriors snapped a two-game losing streak holding off a late fourth quarter surge by the Monument Valley Mustangs for a 49-46 road win and their first Class 3A North Region win.
Monument Valley girls head coach Robert Nash, who is in his 19th season led the Lady Mustangs to a 41-27 win against the Lady Warriors, and improved to 2-0 in the Class 3A North Region.
"I told the boys 'We have to come out aggressively, get loose,'" said Tuba City head coach Ross Williams. "We've got to get back to the way we play."
For 32 minutes, the Warriors and the Mustangs pushed the ball up and down the court, playing up tempo offense and man-to-man defense. The teams battled back and forth trading baskets. The Warrior's Joshua and Tyrell Begay, Nolan Smith and Benjamin Wheeler outscored the Mustang's Norman Nabahe, Preston Luna and Aaron Armendez 15 to 12 and took an opening quarter lead.
Shayne O'Riley drove the back side to open up the scoring for the Mustangs, followed by back-to-back assists by Preston Parrish, finding Jonathan Delmar and Evan Todachine in the paint and cutting the lead. In the next six minutes, Darin Dugi's two buckets sparked a 12-2 run and a 32-20 lead at intermission for the Warriors.
"We had a 12-point lead at the half," said Williams. "Our defense was excellent."
The Mustangs' Jonathan Delmar, Shayn Begay, Armendez, Nabahe and Todachine combined for 18 points, with a 6-2 and 8-2 run, while the Warriors could only muster nine points in the third frame, cutting their advantage to just three points, 38-41.
Monument Valley's Shayne Begay, Preston Parrish, Armendez matched Tuba City's Joshua Begay, Dugi and Wheeler point-for-point to end the fast paced game 49-46, in the Warriors favor.
At one point in the closing minutes of the final quarter, the Mustangs cut the lead to one point with 40 seconds left, only to turn the ball over and sending the Warriors' Joshua Begay to the line with just nine ticks left on the game clock. Begay coolly converted two free throws and sealed the three-point victory.
The Warriors improved to 1-3 in Class 3A North Region and are now 9-8 overall.
"The key to the win was confidence and our defense won it for us. We always played MV tough," Williams said. "We were finally able to finish a game after some tough road losses. [We] played [our] hearts out and ... [I'm] very proud of them."
Joshua Begay led the Warriors with 13 points, followed by Benjamin Wheeler with 12 points.
"We never got in the rhythm, [Tuba City] affected our guards in a lot of ways." said Monument Valley head coach Jacob Holiday. "We made a run and took the lead - our lack of mental focus at the end proved to be the difference. [You] make mistakes at the end, it's going to cost you - and tonight it did," Holiday concluded.
Norman Nabahe and Aaron Armendez contributed 12 and 10 points respectively for the Monument Valley Mustangs, who fell to 0-2 in Class 3A North Region play and 7-4 for the season.
Monument Valley head coach Robert Nash improved his career total to 388 wins and 120 defeats during his 19th season of coaching.
The Lady Mustangs led by Crystal Todachine, Justina Sullivan, Nicolette Parrish, Bradley Nash and with Anjilique Black's three-ball raced out to a 11 to 6 advantage over Tuba City and Jessica Tsinnie who scored all of the Lady Warriors' points in the first quarter.
Stephanie Yazzie was fouled in the lane and hit the end of two free throws, followed by buckets from Angel Todeene and Tanisha Tso who hit the money ball for the Lady Warriors. Their run was countered by the Lady Mustangs' two treys by Todachine, a lay-in by Destinee Holiday and Mariah Gilmore for a nine-point advantage at the half with a score of 21 to 12.
In the third, Parrish found Nash in the paint for the score, then Nash again found daylight in paint for bucket and one.
Nash then returned the favor with a quick pass to Parrish for a lay-in, enroute to six-point run for the Lady Mustangs. The Lady Warriors answered the run with four points from Nicole Yellow as the Lady Mustangs stretched the lead to 12 points.
Five different Lady Mustangs scored 13 points to put the game out of reach while Jamie Roe (4), Tsinnie (4) and a three ball by Yellow accounted for eleven points, for the Lady Warriors, who fell short by a final score of 27 to 41.
"We were pretty consistent tonight," said Nash. "We played two good halves and our bench filled in very well."
The Lady Mustangs (10-3, 2-0) were led in scoring by Crystal Todachine with 11 points and Bradley Nash added 9 markers. Jessica Tsinnie led the Lady Warriors of Tuba City ( 6-3, 2-1) with 10 points.