The Lady Sand Devils returned to the court last week on the road against Many Farms and easily defeated them 52 – 33. They played against Winslow Tuesday night after this paper went to press.
The Lady Sand Devils will host the Lake Powell Holiday Classic this Thursday thru Saturday. They come into the season with a big target on their back after winning the 3A state championship last year.
Two key players from last year’s championship run, LeLisa Watson and Jacey Salabiye, graduated in June but ten players from last year’s team are returning, among them point guard Myka Taliman, shooting guard Mikala Benally. Both Taliman and Benally played important roles during last year’s state tournament.
Taliman, Benally and Maegan Fuller, all of whom are seniors this year, have played on the varsity team since their freshman year, and head basketball coach Ryan Whitehorse expects to see them emerge as the team leaders this year.
Taliman has been the starting point guard since her sophomore year. She didn’t play last week as she was still recovering from a minor injury she incurred during cross-country.
Coach Whitehorse is looking for players to fill the shoes of Watson and Salabiye and has two of his players fighting for the job, Torrance Begay and Diana Secody.
During the Christmas break the Lady Sand Devils will travel to Las Vegas where they’ll compete in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. They’ll begin the tournament against Centennial, which won the 6A championship last year and is ranked in the top 25 by MaxPreps this season.
The Lady Sand Devils played in a Christmas tournament last year against some very talented teams and the experience really served them well during the state championships, said coach Whitehorse.
“We always have a target on our back but this year, having won the state championship last year, that target will be bigger than ever,” said coach Whitehorse.