Pirates’ heroic rally comes up short


Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
San Carlos Brave Christian Nosie (10) attempts to block Valley Pirate Laramie Semallie (24) as he goes up for a basket on Nov. 25 in Sanders, Ariz.

It seemed impossible.

The Valley boys’ basketball team looked like it was in big trouble trailing the San Carlos Braves 75-59 at the end of the third stanza.

Things looked bleak for the Pirates and there was no indication that the host team had one final run in them.

But, mustering a sense of urgency, the Pirates responded with a 15-0 run over the next three minutes before falling 87-85 in a barnburner.

“I think the big thing about this team is they play together,” Valley coach Zack Button said. “In the first half we were taking good shots but they were not falling.”

By his estimation, Button said they went 1 for 15 from the three-point line and at the half his discouraged team was trailing 54-36.

“That wasn’t our team and I told them that this isn’t going to happen again,” he said. “We just had to believe and the important thing is we did not quit on each other.

During their improbable rally, the Pirates hit three treys, two from senior power forward Cordell Lasiloo with his second one pulling Valley within one point — 75-74 — with just over five minutes left in the game.

Lasiloo’s final trey completed their 15-0 run, for which Button credited his defense.

“I think a lot of people, especially around here, look at the offensive end of the basketball court but I look at the defensive end,” he said. “We gave up 54 points in the first half and in the second half our defense was starting to pick up the intensity on their ball carriers. We stopped giving them second chance points and we stopped giving them offensive rebounds.”

With just under five minutes left the Pirates had a chance to take the lead but they had two good looks at the basket miss their mark. At the other end of the court San Carlos senior guard Al Case Jr. sank two free throws for a three-point edge with 4:21 left.

For the next two minutes the teams traded baskets with the margin staying within a one-possession game until San Carlos point guard Leo Pechuli Jr. completed a three-point play with 1:43 left for an 83-78 advantage.

“My dad has always told me to score no matter what the situation is,” said Pechuli, who finished with 14 points including eight in the fourth quarter. “That was going through my head – just to score.”

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Categories: Basketball

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at