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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 20, 2004 - Issue 109


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Winslow Tops MV Before Large Crowd

by Oree Foster - The Navajo Times
credits: Winslow team members hoist the gold trophy, signifying they are the Arizona Class 3A state champions. The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Kayena Monument Valley Lady Mustangs, 76-69, for the state title at America West Arena in Phoenix. (Times photo - Oree Foster)

Winslow team members hoist the gold trophy, signifying they are the Arizona Class 3A state champions. The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Kayena Monument Valley Lady Mustangs, 76-69, for the state title at America West Arena in Phoenix. (Times photo - Oree Foster)PHOENIX - The Arizona Class 3A state championship game was hard fought.

The Winslow Lady Bulldogs and Kayenta Monument Valley Lady Mustangs came to play hard.

Winslow, utilizing three-point shooting, raced to the state championship, outlasting Monument Valley before more than 11,000 frenzied fans at America West Arena in Phoenix last Saturday.

Winslow held off Monument Valley, 76-69, in an up-tempo battle between the two 3A North Region Conference rivals.

Winslow's legendary coach Don Petranovich, the winningest girls high school basketball coach in Arizona, guided the Lady Bulldogs to their first state title since 1998 and fifth in the school's history.

"The girls did a super job," Petranovich said as his eyes welled with tears. "Monument Valley has a great team. To beat a great team is such a wonderful feeling. We had to fight to the very end to win the state championship."

In addition to this year's state championship, Winslow has won state titles in 1979, 1989, 1990 and 1998. The Lady Bulldogs were state runners-up in 1991, 1992, 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Petranovich, whose coaching record is 621-128 in 28 years, said playing up-tempo offensively and applying pressure defensively were the key.

"We pushed the ball down the floor," Petranovich said. "We shot the ball extremely well. If you leave us open, we will hurt you."

The Lady Bulldogs did just that. Winslow connected with 11 three-pointers for the afternoon, while Monument Valley managed four treys for the game.

"Levyna (Ben) had a great game," Petranovich said. "She played her heart out. She hit key three-pointers. She scored a career high. Lindsey (Begaii) played her best game of the year. She shot and rebounded well. Stephanie (Garnett) played a great game in the second half."

To the delight of the large crowd, Winslow and Monument Valley traded baskets throughout the opening quarter.

Winslow sophomore wing Levyna Ben was tough in the clutch, playing with ice in her veins.

Ben, who knocked in a career high 28 points, pumped in one of her six three-pointers to lift the Lady Bulldogs to a 19-9 lead with 1:40 remaining the first quarter.

Monument Valley senior post Irene Bahe answered with consecutive baskets, slicing Winslow's lead to six points.

Winslow's Arveda Yazzie canned a basket with 1.8 seconds remaining in the first quarter, giving the Lady Bulldogs a 21-13 lead.

A fired up Monument Valley quickly began the second quarter on a 6-0 run, thanks to Samantha Harrison's back-to-back baskets on steals and Tempress Freeman's bucket inside the paint.

Winslow's lead was trimmed to two points, before Ben rattled the cages with a trey for a 24-19 lead.

As time was running down prior to halftime, Winslow's Starla McCurtain canned a trey for a 40-32 Lady Bulldog advantage.

Monument Valley's Allison Holiday connected with a pair of free throws, slicing Winslow's lead to six points, 40-34, as the first half ended.

Winslow and Monument Valley shot strongly to begin the third quarter.

The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Mustangs traded three-pointers during the opening minutes of the third quarter.

Winslow poured in a pair of three-pointers, while Monument Valley lit up the scoreboard for three treys.

With 3:31 remaining in the third quarter, Winslow extended its lead to 10 points, 56-46, on Ben's trey.

Monument Valley hit a scoring drought for three minutes before Latoya Black netted a three-pointer, cutting Winslow's lead to nine points, 58-49.

As the third quarter came to a close, Begaii canned a trey and scored inside for a 63-49 Winslow advantage.

During the third quarter, Monument Valley had opportunities but turnovers proved to be costly. The Lady Mustangs turned the ball over four times in six possessions.

Winslow led by as much as 10 points throughout the fourth quarter. Lady Mustang Tempress Freeman scored inside, cutting the Lady Bulldogs' lead to seven points, 67-60.

With 2:15 remaining in the game, Winslow's JoDawn White hit a pair of free throws lifting the Lady Bulldogs to a 10-point lead, 72-62.

The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Mustangs exchanged baskets during the remaining minute of the game, with Winslow's Ben scoring four points and Kayenta Monument Valley's Bahe hitting for five points.

In addition to Ben's 28 points, Winslow's Begaii added 19 points and McCurtain tallied 14 points.

Freeman topped Monument Valley with 19 points. Harrison followed with 17 points and Bahe canned 16 points.

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