CHINLE, Ariz. – The Chinle High School boys and girls basketball teams were honored by the community of Chinle March 25 during an awards dinner sponsored by the Office of the Speaker and the 21st Navajo Nation Council.
The Chinle High School boys’ basketball team, ranked No. 3 in the state, garnered state runner-up honors during the 2008 Arizona 3A Boys Championship tournament with a loss to state champions Estrella Foothills by a score of 46-40 March 7.
The Chinle girls’ basketball team was ranked No. 7 in the state and was eliminated by eventual state champions Kayenta-Monument Valley Lady Mustangs in the Final Four by a score of 55-46 at Jobing.com Arena March 6 in Glendale, Ariz.
The event was held at Chinle High School gym and was well attended by the community, several tribal dignitaries, family and friends of the student-athletes.
Kee Allen Begay, Navajo Nation Council delegate for Many Farms and Rough Rock, served as the master of ceremonies and praised the teams for a successful season and emphasized the importance of education and encouraged the student athletes to always excel in school.
“As your council representative and as your leader, I want to make it known that we are in support of our area sports programs and we supported our students throughout the season.”
The Chinle High School Girls varsity team is, from left, Coach Darrell Clauschee, Liana Garcia, Samantha Pahe, Michaela Stevens, Tia Gorman, Taneesha Watson, Nicole Tsosie, Tia Tso and Tamara Jones.
Charles Gover, dean of students for Winslow High School and former athlete at Chinle High School, served as the guest speaker for the event. He also stressed the importance of academics and said education should come before athletics, a philosophy that helped him guide the Tuba City High School boys’ basketball team to back-to-back state championships in 2000 and 2001.
Dr. James Davis Jr., chief of staff for the Office of the Speaker, addressed the crowd on behalf of Navajo Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan. He expressed the value of this victory and made note that not only was it a victory for the students, but it was a victory for the parents and the community as well.
Nelson Gorman, council delegate for Chinle, also expressed his gratitude and congratulated the basketball teams for their accomplishments.
“We appreciate all that they have accomplished and we are here today to recognize and encourage them to continue striving to be the best. You made history here in Chinle and we are thankful to be here to celebrate your accomplishments with you.”
Ned Curley Jr., head varsity boys basketball coach, thanked the council delegates for hosting the event.
“The year was exciting for us, we accomplished a lot. This dinner sponsored by the council delegates and the Office of the Speaker is much appreciated by the coaches and by the players.”