Oree Foster
Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com

Monument Valley Lady Mustangs standout Tayla Nez reaches career scoring milestone

February 14, 2019 by Oree Foster, AZPreps365

Monument Valley Lady Mustangs senior point guard, center, reached her career scoring milestone during the first round of the 3A State Tournament game against Pusch Ridge Christian Academy. From left, assistant coach Michell Todecheene, assistant coach Aaron Notah-Smith, Tayla Nez, head coach Jason Franklin and assistant coach Bryan Begay.

Thoughout her illustrious four-year basketball career wearing Monument Valley Lady Mustangs' Red, White and Silver uniform, senior standout Tayla Nez reached 1,000 point career scoring milestone.

Nez has knocked down baskets from the perimeter. She has nailed baskets from beyond the three-point arc. Utilizing her speed, quickness and uncanny moves, she has hit numerous baskets driving to the hoop for scores.

Nez canned a short jumper from the perimeter, scoring two of her game high 18 points, against Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, during a first round 3A State Tournament win last Tuesday, before a hometown crowd, that included her family.

Nez said being a part of the 1,000 point club is amazing," Nez said. "My coach, Jason Franklin, told me that I am one of the few that has surpassed this many points, ever since an alumnus from Monument Valley, Allison Holiday did in 2006. When he told me that I was shocked and honored to be one of the few players at MVHS to reach that mark."

Nez said her family were at the game and made the 1,000th point sign.

"I saw my family walk into the gymnasium, but I didn't see them bring a poster," Nez said. "Once they threw up that poster, I didn't know what was going on. The crowd got so loud, when I made a short jumper. My coach called a timeout. One of my teammates pointed and said, "Tay, look". I looked and all I had was a huge smile on my face. I didn't know what to say."

Nez continued, "After I reached my 1,000 points, coach Franklin brought the team over and explained to all, that I made history for MV. He said that I am one of the few that has surpassed my 1,000 points. I wouldn't have done it without my team, which is totally true. He told me that he is proud of me, then gave me a big hug."

Nez said she was most proud that she got to score her 1,000th point in front of her support system, her family, her teammates and her coaches.

"On my 1,000th point, they brought up a sign," Nez said. "I was wondering why the crowd cheered so loud when I scored a short jumper. Then I looked over there and saw that big sign. I was lost for words and didn't know what to say. I just smiled big and kept playing my game."

Nez said she was 14 points away from scoring a career 1,000 points entering the contest against Pusch Ridge. She said at the beginning of the season, she had scored 656 career points.

"This was a big goal of mine once the season started, because I was averaging between 200 to 300 points per season since my sophomore year," Nez said. "I told my coach I was going to try and reach my 1,000 this year. He told me that I could and I did."

Nez earned post season honors for her outstanding performance on the floor this past season. She was selected 3A North First Team All-Region and Offensive Player of the Year.

"I feel honored, as there were many deserving players, who were nominated," she said. "Once I received the award, I was shaking and it felt like I couldn't even feel my legs. I took a while to finally sink in. I still couldn't believe it. I was anxious all day to see who got it. I made this a big goal of mine at the beginning of the season. I worked extra hard just to get it. I was super happy."

Nez said she set personal goals prior to the start of the season, including post season honors, such as player of the year, all-region and all-state. She said her goal was to shoot 80 per cent from the free throw line, reach 1,000 points and help the Lady Mustangs the best she can to win the state championship.

Nez said the the team goal is to complete unfinish business and win the state championship.

"We want to play this season with great team work and always be there for one another," Nez said.

Monument Valley outlasted Pusch Ridge, 61-56, in a state tournament first round game. The Lady Mustangs face No. 5 Tanque Verde today (Friday) at 5:30 p.m. in Amphitheater High School gymnasium in Tucson.

"I feel super excited advancing into the second round of the state tournament," Nez stated. "We've had a tough season as a team and me individually. Now I think we're all set to go and this just boosted up our confidence. I know we can do it."

Nez said a few colleges are interested in her to continue playing basketball after high school graduation.

"After high school, I would still like to continue playing basketball," she said. "I am still trying to decide who I would like to play for. When I am done playing, I am already planning on attending the University of Arizona and major in Physical Therapy."