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Oree Foster
Staff Writer,

3A North Region basketball preview: Speed is key for Monument Valley girls, boys teams

November 25, 2019 by Oree Foster, AZPreps365

Speed is the key for Kayenta Monument Valley girls and boys basketball teams.

The Mustangs opens its regular season on November 26 at Red Mesa in a freedom game.


Jason Franklin begins his fourth year as the Lady Mustangs head coach. The Lady Mustangs completed its season 9-23 overall and 1-9 in the 3A North Region.

The Lady Mustangs earned a state tournament berth last year. The Lady Mustangs defeated Pusch Ridge, of Tucson, in the first round. Tanque Verde ousted the Lady Mustangs in the state tournament quarterfinals.

The Lady Mustangs return seven players, including one part time starter from last year's team.

Junior guard/forward Adriana Sheppard was a part time starter last year.

"(She) did not receive (post season) awards, due to missing half the (3A North) Region season with (an) injury," Franklin said. "(She) has been a starter since she was a freshman."

Returning players include, senior guard Kaylee Yazzie; senior guard Mikyla Yazzie; junior post Erynne Sells; sophomore guard Skylynn Flores; sophomore forward Brandi Gillis; and sophomore forward Shree Yazzie.

Franklin said practice began earlier this month and the Lady Mustangs participated in summer basketball, the team's strengths are speed, aggressiveness on defense and depth.

"We (are) extremely young, two freshmen and six sophomores, but there's really no drop off in talent from one group to the next right now," Franklin explained. "The biggest thing we need to work on right now is our basketball IQ and learning hos to play varsity basketball."

Franklin added, "We're physically gifted. We have only one returning starter and only three returning players who have seen significant varsity minutes in their careers. So, much of our time (early on) will be spent understanding clock and time management, situations, opponents, foul counts, seeing the floor, and how to practice as an varsity athlete. Our youth will be both our strength and our weakness at times throughout the season."

Franklin said as always, the Lady Mustangs want to compete and challenge for the 3A North Region championship.

"We truly believe that it's a feasible, tangible goal every year and put ourselves into a position to have games to start the 3A state tournament," Franklin said. "Playing in the Nash Center in front of a moisy K-town crowd is a huge advantage over teams who are not used to that environment on a nightly basis."


Richard Beverly returns as Kayenta Monument Valley's basketball head basketball coach.

He had coaching stints at Ganado, the midwest and was an assistant coach at Chinle last year.

Four starters return for the Mustangs. Returning starters are sophomore guard Andrew Sheppard; junior guard Hunter Nez; junior guard Tyler Jacobsl and senior post Simeon Thinn. Sheppard earned 3A North All-Region last year.

Junior post Lattrel Maloney and junior guard Dahntay Dugi played significantly last year for the Mustangs.

The Mustangs finished 5-5 in the 3A North Region and 16-13 overall last year.

Beverly said the player's work ethic, speed and ball handling are the Mustangs' strengths.

"We will have to work on our execution, (the players are) learningt a new system, chemistry with one another and our attitudes," Beverly said. "Our goal is to become a cohesive unit and be successful within our team philosophy. Expectations are to have a great attitude, play hard each and every game. To be successful on and off the court."