Red Mesa boys, Rock Point girls, St. Michael girls advance to Final Four

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Rock Point Lady Cougars Lara Begay (10) Chrystalana Clark (15), Ranisha Begay (32), and Tamarrah Deswood (24) smile after defeating Fort Thomas Saturday morning at the Prescott Valley Event Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona.


The strength of the 1A North Conference was on full display on Saturday with three area teams advancing into the Final Four round of the Arizona state playoffs.

The Rock Point Lady Cougars, the tournament’s No. 9 seed, upset top-ranked Fort Thomas 52-51 in the quarterfinals of the girls bracket while conference rival St. Michael took care of St. David with a 55-34 win.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Red Mesa’s Tristen Tsosie (32) begins to celebrate after defeating Joseph City Saturday evening.

In the boys bracket, Red Mesa used its size to post a surprise 56-41 victory over No. 2 seed Joseph City.

Red Mesa looked to senior Garrett Benally as the 6-5 post had an effective night by scoring 22 points.

For the last two games, Red Mesa coach Hank Charleston said Benally has played the X-factor for his team as Joseph City had no answer for him.

“He came through for us and our guards really utilized him,” Charleston said.

With his hot shooting, Red Mesa used a quarter-ending 11-3 run to take a 29-15 lead at the end of the first half with Benally scoring six points.

In the third he added a dozen points to keep pace with Joseph City as Red Mesa led 44-32 going into the fourth.

Charleston said Benally did a good job of establishing control.

“He made it happen,” he said. “He dropped step right and left and he got rewarded for it. They had to come out and defend him.”

With Joseph City putting extra attention on him, Red Mesa had other players step up with junior Tristen Tsosie chipping in 14 while junior point guard Hunter Pipkin adding 10 points.
“Once they feed that big guy it opens up everything,” he said.

Red Mesa will take on No. 3 Fort Thomas in Friday’s Final Four round. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Prescott Valley Event Center.


In stunning fashion, Rock Point held on for the win, as Fort Thomas could not convert on their end late in the game.

After Rock Point got the go-ahead basket by senior post Taylor Johnson with 1:03 left in the game for a 52-51 lead the Lady Apaches kept the ball on their end of the court in the waning moments.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
St. Michael Lady Cardinal Ali Upshaw (0) drives the ball to the ball against a St. David player Saturday in Prescott.

Fort Thomas, however, had a few opportunities go awry as Rock Point regained possession with a key turnover.

“I told my girls to dig deep and play defense,” Rock Point coach Andrew Reed said.

As for the final moments of the game, he said they stayed composed even though Fort Thomas was looking to take over the lead down the stretch.

“We set up a couple of plays to get it on our side of the court but Fort Thomas fouled us and we weren’t in the bonus,” Reed said. “When they got the ball we were hoping that they would make the mistakes.”

Junior guard Christin Bahe led Rock Point with 14 points. Freshman Pasheen Johnson had seven and junior Lara Begay added six.

Rock Point is scheduled play No. 4 Baboquivari on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at the Prescott Valley Event Center.

In the other quarterfinal, St. Michael pulled away from St. David in the third quarter. The Lady Cardinals led 23-20 at the break but they outscored St. David 17 to 6 to take a commanding 40-26 lead.

“I knew that St. David was going to come out physical,” Lady Cardinal coach Carl Adams said. “There were some questionable calls but we adjusted to the refs.”

The second-year coach said their pressure defense took over, which gave fits for the St. David squad.

“When we get into our press we try to take away their best player,” he said.

Sophomore Ali Upshaw led St. Michael as she finished with 17 points. Senior Jalynn Smith added 15 and Delila Nakaidinae helped out with 13.

St. Michael will play Ray on Friday at 10:30 a.m. in Prescott Valley with the winner playing the Rock Point/Baboquivari survivor in 1A finals on Saturday at 11 a.m.

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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