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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : sports : regional August 28, 2014


2/25/2014 10:43:00 AM
Chinle Wildcats advance to Elite Eight in state tourney
Alchesay’s Brennen Alchesay (4) drives the paint for two points and one, with Chinle’s Kevin Yazzie (23) defending his shot and calling for a personal foul. Photo/Anton Wero
Alchesay’s Brennen Alchesay (4) drives the paint for two points and one, with Chinle’s Kevin Yazzie (23) defending his shot and calling for a personal foul. Photo/Anton Wero
Chinle’s Kevin Yazzie (23) shoots over Alchesay Falcons defender Timothy Hinton (5) during a 2014 Arizona AIA February Frenzy boys state championship second round game at Monument Valley High School gym, in Kayenta, Ariz. The Wildcats won 84-72. Photo/Anton Wero
Chinle’s Kevin Yazzie (23) shoots over Alchesay Falcons defender Timothy Hinton (5) during a 2014 Arizona AIA February Frenzy boys state championship second round game at Monument Valley High School gym, in Kayenta, Ariz. The Wildcats won 84-72. Photo/Anton Wero
Anton Wero
The Observer

KAYENTA, Ariz - The Chinle Wildcats (26-5), who, with two wins during Division III section one tournament, re-gained their number one ranking in the Arizona State Basketball Division III poll, defeated the Alchesay Falcons 84-72 Feb. 21 at Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Ariz.

The teams played the game before a sold out crowd.

The Chinle Wildcats, who advanced to the Elite Eight, will now travel to Prescott, Ariz., to play the Colts of Cortez High School, at the Tim's Toyota Center, on Feb. 26, at 6 p.m.

Before the game, Kyle Goklish, the Alchesay head coach, talked about the Falcons' game preparation.

"We want to have a good start, we're on the road - being on the road is twice as tough, so we want to have a good start, play some good team defense and offensively we want to share the ball, spread the ball around and play as a team," Goklish said. "We have some quickness - we're not too tall - but we used our quickness, we have good hands and good foot speed, two things that we can try to take advantage of tonight."

Many in attendance drove more than five hours and stood in line in the wee hours to get into the game. They were not to be disappointed.

The Wildcats and Falcons set the tempo of the game in high gear. Chinle's Kevin Yazzie took the opening tip and drove through the paint for a quick bucket. Alchesay's Brennen Alchesay threw a dart like pass to teammate Arnold Walker for a driving bucket, then Walker scored off a turnover. Alchesay enjoyed a brief 4-2 lead, the team's only lead of the game.

Early in the first quarter, Chinle's Jimican Ranger hit a three-pointer and Ty Francisco combined for six points, for an 8-4 lead. Chinle and Alchesay traded buckets in the paint, both driving to the top of the key and finding open teammates for scores. Chinle led 21-15 at the end of the first frame.

Chinle Wildcat head coach Charles Gover talked about the Wildcats' game preparation and offense.

"We diagram what their (Wildcats') offensive was gonna look like. The things we were going to do, basically penetrate and kick, we got our kids in the right spot at the right time," Gover said.

The pace of the game never let up. Alchesay and Chinle continued driving and dishing off to a teammate trailing the play.

"We got caught up in their game, normally we play at our own pace," Goklish said.

The Wildcats and Falcons played nearly even in the second quarter. The Wildcats outscored the Falcons 18-15, led by Wyatt Tuni, who scored eight points in the quarter. The Wildcats led at the half, 39-30.

"I told the boys (at the half) to just keep after it - just keep doing what we do," said Gover. "Alchesay's M.O. is to shoot the ball - they don't quit, they keep playing."

"Coach told us - keep rebounding, keep passing and find the open man, so we did," Tuni said. "I told them, they're not going to back down."

Chinle's Tuni, Francisco, Darrin Cly and Yazzie combined for 23 points in the third quarter, while Alchesay's Walker, Timothy Hinton and Denzel Palmer answered with 19 points. But Alchesay still trailed 62-49.

The Falcons were able to outscore the Wildcats by a point in the final frame. The Wildcats answered every point Alchesay scored. Sage Valesquez hit a three-point bucket and Blake Lupe also hit two three-pointers (one NBA range) for the Falcons in the final period. Tuni, Yazzie and Sooner Brady hit eight free throws to close out the quarter and the game, winning 84-72.

"It was a team win - all five guys on the court contributed, all twelve guys on the team contributed, in one way or another," Gover said. "It's not about who scores the most - it's other things like rebounding, passing, defense, etc."

Francisco led the Wildcats with a game high 20 points. Tuni and Yazzie added 17 points each. Anthaniel Long scored 10 points.

"We got the shots we wanted but we didn't finish," Goklish said, "We missed lay ups, we missed open three point shots, we didn't capitalized on fast break opportunities, we made runs - but we couldn't close it out."


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