PHS boys and girls basketball improve win streaks
Billed as one of the most exciting games of the regular season, the No. 3 ranked Lady Sand Devils hosted the No. 2 ranked Window Rock Fighting Scouts on Saturday.
Statistically, the two teams were very evenly matched. The Lady Sand Devils came into the game riding an eight-game win streak; the also Scouts came in riding an eight-game win streak. The Sand Devils were 8-2 in sectional play; the Scouts were 8-1 in sectional play. The Sand Devils were ranked No. 3; Window Rock was ranked No. 2.
For the first seven minutes of the first quarter, the two teams exchanged baskets and the lead, but the Sand Devils went on a 5 to 0 scoring run on a 3-pointer from Issianna Brown, followed by a brilliant assist from Alyssa Harris to Sofia Cambridge on a transition play. Page led 13 to 9 at the end of the first quarter.
Issianna Brown opened the second quarter with another 3-pointer, which gave the Sand Devils an early 7-point lead. In fact, the second and third quarters were all about 3-pointers for the Sand Devils. Tayla Franklin hit one, Alyssa Harris hit one and Kylie Benally hit back-to-back 3s. Page went into the fourth quarter leading 37 to 29.
The Sand Devils increased their lead in the fourth quarter. The final score read Page 48, Window Rock 36. The Lady Sand Devils are now 16-4 overall and 8-2 in their section.
Lady Sand Devils Head Coach Celeste Claw said her team’s success this season comes down to two things: a deep bench and tightly bonded team.
“Because I have such a deep bench I don’t always use the same five players as my starters,” she said.
Claw’s deep bench was on display Saturday against Window Rock. Kylie Benally was the team’s leading scorer with 11 points, Alyssa Harris had 7 points and LeLaura Yazzie, Tayla Franklin, Sofia Cambridge and Kameron Tsosie had 6 points each.
Claw said that perhaps the most important part of the season came during Christmas break when the team traveled to San Francisco to take part in a large, multistate basketball tournament.
“The girls really bonded on that trip,” said Claw. “We had a lot of fun, but, more importantly, we really came together as a team. Our level of play took a giant leap forward after that trip.”
In the boy’ game, the Window Rock Fighting Scouts were no contest for the No. 4 ranked Sand Devils last Saturday. Page, coming off an exciting overtime win against Monument Valley on Jan. 23, dominated Window Rock on both ends of the court. Their 63-36 victory added to the team’s three-game win streak.
Maximus Reid and Joey Benally are respected 3-point shooters for the Sand Devils, which pulls out defenders to guard them. This opens up the inside game for Bryce Williams, who loves to attack from the baseline, and for Tyree Stingley, who attacks from the top of the key.
And that is exactly what the Scouts received Saturday on the Sand Devils home court. Page wasted no time establishing a 7-2 lead half way through the first quarter. By halftime, they had built a 28-13 lead, and cruised to an easy 63-36 victory from there.