Oree Foster
Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com

Boys hoops: Page finishes as runner-up, Chinle advances in tournament

December 29, 2018 by Oree Foster, AZPreps365

In a nip-and-tuck ball game, the Page Sand Devils dropped a 49-48 decision to the Navajo Prep Eagles, of Farmington, New Mexico, on a 'buzzer-beater' basket for the tournament championship at the Striking Eagle Native American Invitational in Johnson Gymnasium on the campus of University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Friday night.

Page Sand Devils

Page head coach Gary Skubal said Navajo Prep worked the ball around before hitting the buzzer beater basket. He said the lead exchanged hands throuhgout the game.

Justin Salabiye and Danian Sloan each tallied 15 points for Page. Benjamin Alvarez added 11 points for Page.

To reach the eight-team tournament championship contest, Page defeated Magdalena Steers, of Magdalena, New Mexico on Wednesday. The Sand Devils advanced to the semifinals, outlasting the Santa Fe Indian School Braves, of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Page entertains Sedona Friday, January 4 for a freedom game at 7 p.m.

Chinle Wildcats

Chinle is competing in the White Mountain Holiday Classic, hosted by Blue Ridge High School.

Chinle finished one win and one loss in pool play.

Chinle defeated Combs, of San Tan Valley, Arizona, 73-54, in the Wildcats' first game of the tournament bracket.

"In the first half, we played well in spurts," said Chinle head coach Raul Mendoza. "We would build a good lead, but we kept letting them stay in the game. In the second half, we finally played defense consistantly and pulled away."

Chinle 6-foot-2 junior Cooper Burbank scorched the cords for 27 points. Curtis Begay added 13 points, followed by Angelo Lewis with 12 points and Payton Wagner with 11 points for Chinle.

Austin Prater tallied 17 points, while Isaac Lujan scored 13. Julian Lujan added nine points and Wyatt Larson netted eight points for Combs.

In a winner's bracket game on Friday night, Chinle dropped a 61-50 decision to Buena Colts.

"We started slow by not taking care of the basketball in the first part of the game, until the last part of the game," Mendoza said. "The team made a gallant effort, but came up short on the scoreboard. I was pleased with the effort."

Cooper Burbank led Chinle with 16 points. Curtis Begay added 13 points and Payton Wagner netted 10 points for Chinle.

Jaylen McFadden and JoVann Feathanston both scored 12 points for Buena. Kino Bellinger added 11 points and Grant Ward tallied eight points for Buena.