Navajo Prep Eagles soar to sixth state title win
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - "I remember coming and watching. I remember when the buzzer went off - everybody just running on the court just screaming, yelling and mauling the coach and taking pictures. I just thought they must be really happy [and] always wondered how that felt - being the best in your class," said Nicole Crisp when asked if she remembers her older sister, now head coach Rainy Crisp, winning the New Mexico 2A state title.
At that time, it wasn't just one title. Rainy and the Navajo Prep Lady Eagles had won three in a row - 1995 thru 1997.
"It just feels great, awesome, ecstatic right now. No words to describe it," added the younger Crisp, who scored a game high 23 points to lead Navajo Prep (21 - 8) to its sixth state basketball title. Margia Begaye and Monique Ironshell added 11 and 10 points respectively, defeating the Lordsburg Lady Mavericks, 72 - 54 in the 2009 New Mexico First Community Bank Girls Class 2A State Basketball Championship game.
"We wanted to do this for our seniors. They put in four years of work for us [and] we really wanted to go out there and win it for our seniors. It's great that we got it for them," said Coach Crisp.
It's a rarity to win a state basketball title as both a coach and a player - only a handful have done it. When asked to compare if winning the state title as a coach or as a player felt better, Coach Crisp answered, "They both feel good. As a player, just going out there working hard and getting that blue trophy, that was an awesome feeling. Being a coach, seeing your girls go in and ... making history and knowing that I was a part of that, there is no comparison. It's great winning as a player and great feeling winning as a coach."
Nicole Crisp scored 10 points in the opening quarter to give the Lady Eagles a 23 to 11 lead over the Lady Mavericks, including five straight points from the opening tip as Navajo Prep jumped started to early 7 - 0 lead. Crisp broke away for an uncontested layup off the glass to open the second frame, continuing to push the ball as the Lady Eagles led at the break, 34 to 23.
Navajo Prep and Lordsburg traded baskets in the third frame. The Eagles steadily outscored the Mavericks by a point to take a 50 to 38 advantage as the quarter concluded. Navajo Prep then went on 12 - 0 run in the final quarter and coasted to 18 point win, 72 -54.
Navajo Prep opened its run to the 2009 Class 2A State Basketball Championship by defeating the Rehoboth Lynx in the first round 48 - 38 and advancing to the quarterfinals where they defeated the Tularosa Wildcats, 54 27. In the semifinal game, Navajo Prep were 67 to 60 winners over the Navajo Pine Lady Warriors. Navajo Pine was a first round winner over Santa Rosa.
In the semifinal game, the Lady Spartans of St Pius (27 - 1) were led by three players in double figures: Alexandria Membreno, Agnes Gallegos and Elisha Levingston, who combined for 42 points to defeat the Kirtland Central Lady Broncos (24 - 6). Jessica Benally, the McDonalds All American team nominee led Kirtland Central with 13 points, followed by La Teesha Nez with 10 points.
The Lady Broncos advanced to the Girls Class 4A semifinal game as first round winners over the Los Alamos Hilltoppers 62 - 33. They also had a quarterfinal 58 to 27 win over the Aztec Lady Tigers of Aztec, New Mexico.
The Shiprock Lady Chieftains (21 - 7) were eliminated by the Moriarty Lady Pintos (22 - 6) in the quarterfinal game, 51 - 41. Kristin Valencia led all scorers with 22 points, followed by Brandi Valencia with 16 points for the Lady Pintos. Charmayne Bellamy and Keturah Yazzie had 10 points each for the Lady Chieftains.
Shiprock posted a 62 to 40 win over the Albuquerque Academy Lady Chargers in the first round to move to the quarterfinal matchup with Moriarty.