Oree Foster
Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com

Tuba City opens hoop season with victory

November 22, 2018 by Oree Foster, AZPreps365

Utilizing its depth, the Tuba City Lady Warriors played four strong quarters to post a 73-23 freedom game win over the Hopi Lady Bruins in a season opener for both teams in prep girl's basketball action this past Tuesday night.

Tuba City shot well in the first quarter. The Lady Warriors outscored the Lady Bruins, 17-6, at the end of the opening stanza. The Lady Warriors contained Hopi to four points, while canning 21 points. Tuba City took a 38-10 lead as the first half ended.

The Lady Warriors picked up where they left off in the second quarter. Tuba City rattled the cages for 20 points. Hopi managed to score 7. Tuba City took a 58-17 lead, leading into the fourth quarter. Tuba City netted 15 points and Hopi scored six points in the final frame.

Junior guard Larissa Yazzie pumped in 16 points to pace Tuba City. Senior guard Tiriya Mexican added 11 points for the Lady Warriors. Contributing offensively for Tuba City were sophomore guard Mikeya Sheppard and sophomore guard/forward Chenille Nodman with nine points apiece. Sophomore forward Talisha Attakai and junior forward Jayda Chee both tallied eight points apiece.

Tuba City, 1-0, travel to Show Low to meet the Lady Cougars this Wednesday, November 28 at 5:30 p.m.

Tuba City will participate in the Lake Powell Holiday Classic in Page, November 29 to December 1.

Tuba City is scheduled to participate in the Pepsi Invitationa Tournament in Flagstaff, December 6 to 8.

Tuba City head coach Kimberly Williams has a 12-player varsity roster.

Larissa Yazzie and Jayda Chee were selected 3A North All-Region Honorable Mention last year.

Junior guard Emerille Cowboy is a transfer from Winslow High School. Cowboy was selected 3A East All-Region Honorable Mention.

Also, the Lady Warriors consist of senior Chanell Barrett, senior Tiriya Mexican, junior Rainbow Willie, sophomore Mikeya Sheppard, sophomore Shaila Dgi, sophomore Talisha Attakai and sophomore Chenille Nodman. Freshman Gracee Curley and freshman Chanique Nez are members of the varsity.

Williams a goal of the Lady Warriors is to practice with high intensity and play with intensity in its games.

"We want to have linear progression in all areas of the game," Williams said. "A goal is to be competitive in all games, make the post season playoffs and win a state title for our school and community. We want to represent ourselves in a respectable manner. We want to increase our percentage in made free throws, eliminate turnovers ans execute offensively and defensively."

Tuba City completed the season last year 16-14 overall. The Lady Warriors finished 3-7 in fifth place in the 3A North Region. Tuba City earned a 13th seed in the state tournament last year. Valley Christian eliminated Tuba City.

Williams said the 3A North Region is strong that she believes all the north schools will earn a state tournament berth.

"Our first goal is to win 80 per cent of our conference games and get a higher seed than the last previous year," she said. "We need to win our home games and get wins on the road. We need to get a higher seed than 13."

Williams said the Lady Warriors' schedule is its schedule for this year.

"The freedom games includes several 2A teams," Williams explained. "I do not know how that will help us, unless they are seeded high in their respective regions. The only new team we play this year in a freedom game is Show Low, from the 3A East Region."

Tuba City will participate in two highly anticipated tournaments this year.

"Tournaments we will play in are the Lake Powell Holiday Classic in Page, where we will play Bishop Gorman from Las Vegas, Nevada in the first round," Williams said. "Then we face the winner or loser of Kirtland Central (New Mexico) and Phoenix Maryvale. Big schools will help us a lot for our season."

Williams continued, "The Pepsi Invitational Tournament in Flagstaff, we will also see new teams. All bigger schools that will allow us to get better in our game."

Williams believes the 3A North Region games are the toughest of their schedule.

"We (3A North Region teams) are all evenly matched," Williams stated. "Our success will be dependent on our defense limiting points and opportunities for others. Offensively, we have to execute, including making our free throws and control the boards at both ends of the floor. We are probably the smallest team in the 3A North Region. Jayda Chee, at 5-foot-10, is our tallest player. Height will be our disadvantage, so we have to be successful with our uptempo game and patient ti our half court sets."

Williams since the 3A North Region teams are evenly matched and strong, it's hard to predict which team will emerge as region champions.

Williams said the Lady Warriors had a productive summer, playing in team camps in Page, Arizona State University (Tempe), Fort Lewis College (Durango, Colorado), and UNLV (Las Vegas, Nevada). Additionally, the Lady Warriors played in a summer league, hosted by Coconino High School in Flagstaff.