Whitehorse girls win one, lose two

The Whitehorse High School girls basketball team spent the past weekend in Shiprock, NM at the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament. The Lady Raiders went 1-2 on the weekend.
The team opened the tournament on November 30 with a 60-51 win over Pine Hill, NM. They suffered a tough loss to Bloomfield, NM the following day 43-3.
That set the Lady Raiders up for a showdown with rivals Monument Valley on Saturday. The Lady Cougars had their way with Whitehorse in a 52-30 victory over the Lady Raiders.
Recently third-year Whitehorse Head Coach Joni Dickson fielded several questions in an email interview with the Record. We will print a portion of her thoughts this week and the remainder in the December 13 issue of the paper:
SJR: How are things shaping up for the team this year?
Joni Dickson: As coaches, we hope to set the tone for the team right away. We added three new coaches (Dedrick Mitchell, Shundean Begay, and Melissa Bahe) to the team who have done a phenomenal job working with the players.
We have a lot of returning players who we expect to build off the momentum from the end of last season. We have new players who need to learn the dynamics and once they do, they will be a big asset to the team. As a team, it is important for us to trust the process and be patient in what we are building this season.
SJR: What players are you expecting to step up to take leadership roles?
JD: Of course we really want our seniors to take the leadership role and help set the tone on the court. A lot of the younger players have shown so much passion and support for the team and they have also stepped in to take on those leadership roles. Ultimately we will see who is hungry enough to carry those leadership traits and make a positive impact on their team on and off the court.
SJR: Who has impressed you so far?
JD: A lot of our players have shown great lengths of dedication and hard work during the offseason. You can see how much they have improved from last year because they’ve played club basketball all summer. We see those who have matured on the court. We see who has really worked their craft and want to apply it during games.
We see those who just overall have become mentally tough and their confidence has grown. We are very thankful for the parents, family members, club coaches, and club teammates who supported these players and helped them grow during the offseason.
SJR: Tell me a little bit about the players who will get most of the playing time this season.
JD: Our first two games have given us a little bit of insight in which player combinations have great teamwork, communication, court awareness, and unselfishness.
I see Shunbaah Begay (our returning senior starter) and Heidi Clark (our returning junior starter) playing a majority of the games as our guards because they are so quick and efficient at handling the ball and creating opportunities for their teammates. They are also very aggressive and quick with defense.
Junior Kayla Mitchell (a new player) and sophomore Harmony Thomas (a returning varsity player) will be key in mental and physical toughness at the post and we trust them to radiate their aggressiveness to their teammates.
The most crucial component – and we hope the players see how important this is – is to find players who will take the role of coming off the bench and keeping the chemistry and momentum alive. That can be any of our varsity players and that will also determine how much time they will be playing.
Whitehorse began this week on the road Tuesday, December 5 against Red Mesa after the press deadline. They’re next on the court Wednesday, December 13 at Navajo Pine.

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