Times releases POY, COY selections


Several of our area teams closed out the 2022-23 basketball season in a special way.

The Alchesay, Gallup, Flagstaff, Tohatchi and Rock Point girls captured state titles in their respective classifications.

Four other squads made the finals with the Monument Valley boys and the Kirtland Central, To’hajiilee and Santa Fe Indian girls finishes as the reserve champions.

With those impressive finishes, there were a number of individuals that played a big part in getting those teams to the very top as the Navajo Times have selected two boys and two girls for the paper’s player of the year recognition.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Navajo Prep Eagle Jude Thomas (4) aims the ball for the basket against the Crownpoint Eagles on Feb. 25 at Shiprock High School. Jude was selected as this year’s player of the year.

Eleven boys were nominated for player of the year and among that group Monument Valley’s Albrandon Byjoe and Navajo Prep’s Jude Thomas were the frontrunners.

And although they got the most votes, the Times’ agreed with the coaches in honoring both individuals.

Byjoe led the Mustangs to a 27-4 overall record and an appearance in the Arizona 3A state title game with MV coming up short to Chandler Valley Christian by a 65-44 count.

The MV guard averaged 20.8 points per game while pulling down 6.5 rebounds and dishing out 3.9 assists for the Mustangs.

In its state quarterfinal game, Byjoe poured in 40 points in helping the Mustangs to an 82-64 win over Coolidge.

Afterward, MV coach Randolph Gilmore said Byjoe has been doing that all season.

Thomas, who averaged 16.8 ppg with 135 assists, 110 rebounds and 86 steals, helped the Navajo Prep Eagles to a Final Four finish in the New Mexico Class 3A playoffs.

The second seeded Eagles lost to No. 3 Robertson 49-36 in the state semifinals.

“Jude is a great scorer but also a great passer,” Navajo Prep head coach Matt Melvin said of Thomas. “He was third in Class 3A in scoring and first in assists as he gets everybody involved.”

Gilmore and Alamo Navajo’s Lemuel Guerro were tabbed the coach of the year.

Guerro led the Cougars to a 24-5 record as Alamo Navajo posted a number of accomplishments this past season. Under his leadership, Alamo Navajo won the regular season and the league tournament in District 3-1A for the first time. The Cougar won its first playoff game by beating Dora 58-55 on the road.

“We had a great season,” Guerro said. “We have a winning record and going this far is a great accomplishment. I’m happy for these guys. I want to thank all the supporters, the fans that we have.”

After losing in the Round of 16 the year before, the Mustangs made an improbable run to the 3A state game as the tournament’s sixth seed.

“It’s hard to get to this championship game, so I think we’ve accomplished a lot,” Gilmore said. “People have looked down on the north teams and we did our best to bring it back.

“They know that the north teams can play, so it was good for us,” he added.

Under his leadership, MV won the 3A North Region with a 12-0 mark and the league’s tournament title.

Girls basketball

Navajo Times | Quentin Jodie
Rock Point senior Arianne Begay drives the ball against the Joseph City Lady Wildcats in the Arizona 1A state championship game. Begay helped the Lady Cougars to a third state title, earning her the Times’ Player of the Year award.

The selection for girls basketball was a difficult one. There were a handful of players deserving of this award and Times’ chose Rock Point’s Arianne Begay and Gallup’s Rylie Whitehair as the top players this year.

The 6-2 Gallup post player averaged 14.9 points per game along with 9.6 rebounds leading the Lady Bengals to the school’s seventh state title when Gallup defeated archrival Kirtland Central 57-47 in the Class 4A title game.

“Rylie was the player of the game in the state championship game,” Gallup head coach Todd McBroom said.

“Rylie is a huge mismatch for other teams with her size and skill,” he added. “Rylie has great post moves. She’s just a sophomore and will improve much more over the next two years.”

Begay was instrumental in leading the Rock Point girls to its third consecutive 1A state title.

In the state title game, the 6-1 guard/forward finished with 13 points helping the Lady Cougars to a 49-45 win over Joseph City.

In addition to the three state titles in basketball, Begay helped Rock Point to two state crowns in volleyball.

“I’m leaving Rock Point with five rings,” Begay said. “It’s going to be hard when I leave, but I think a lot of people will remember us for winning five state titles.”

With five state champions the Times’ honored those programs by naming the each coach with the coach of the year award.

The Alchesay Lady Falcons repeated as the 3A state champs by beating Show Low by a 52-35 count in the state finals.

“This is incredible,” Alchesay coach Rick Sanchez said. “Most teams don’t get a chance to win one. The Lord’s blessed us with two in a row here, and this is my third one in five years so this is incredible.”

After coming up short in last season’s 4A title game, the Flagstaff girls got over the hump with a 68-65 win over Tucson Pueblo under head coach Tyrone Johnson.

“Obviously, when you win it with your first group, it’s always going to be special,” Johnson said. “We’ve come close in the past, but these girls are leaving a legacy for our program.

“They set a goal, and they put their stamp on this one,” he added.

Navajo Times | Quentin Jodie
Gallup sophomore post Rylie Whitehair averaged 14.9 points per game along with 9.6 rebounds in leading the Lady Bengals to the Class 4A state title over archival Kirtland Central. Whitehair was selected as the Times’ Player of the Year.

Under the tutelage of head coach Andrew Reed, Rock Point celebrated with its third state title with its four-point win over Joseph City.

“We’ve been telling ourselves let’s three-peat,” Reed said. “This one puts the icing on the cake, which is really good.”

In the New Mexico Class 3A title game, the Tohatchi Lady Cougars rolled to a 46-24 win over Santa Fe Indian School under longtime coach Tanisha Bitsoi.

“I’m very proud of these ladies,” Bitsoi said. “This is very emotional. We’ve gone through so much this season and this opportunity presents itself for them.

“They’re very hard working young ladies and I can’t say how proud I am of them and so grateful that they’re able to take us on this journey,” she added. “If not for them, we’re not here so I’m just full of emotions right now.”

Gallup won the 4A state title with a 57-47 win as the Bengals won its seventh state title, two under head coach Todd McBroom.

“I mean, the kids played really well,” McBroom said as Gallup earned some separation by hitting four treys in the second stanza.

“I think the first quarter we had some jitters and whatnot,” he said, “but we came out in the second quarter and played lights out and kind of built a lead and was able to maintain that lead throughout the rest of the game.”

Boys All-Stars

Mathias Apachito, Alamo Navajo

Mike Monte, Alamo Navajo

Isaiah Secatero, Alamo Navajo

Tayshawn Pino, Alamo Navajo

Gavin Butterfield, Alchesay

Caleb Henry, Alchesay

Jedidiah Jones, Aztec

Nathan Shahan, Aztec

Tegan Halwood, Chinle

Jostaiah Harvey, Chinle

Cashin White, Chinle

Delaney Bahe, Chinle

Taye Harvey, Crownpoint

Jordan Harrison, Crownpoint

Tyrell Archie, Crownpoint

Tylon Tsosie, Crownpoint

Cody Vassar-Steen, Farmington

Michael Beck, Farmington

Lander Willie, Farmington

Kristian Touchine, Gallup

Nathaniel Yazzie, Gallup

Isaiah Tom, Gallup

Noah Brown, Holbrook

Brandon Tapaha, Holbrook

Quentin Thomas, Holbrook

Tyler Tapaha, Holbrook

Izaiah Silas, Hopi

Jarious Lomayestewa, Hopi

Satchel Hogue, Kirtland Central

Devin Ramone, Kirtland Central

Albrandon Byjoe, Monument Valley

Roberto Flores, Monument Valley

Uzziel Flores, Monument Valley

Keiyan Mann, Monument Valley

Doreon Chee, Monument Valley, Utah

Dylan Keeto, Navajo Pine

Jude Thomas, Navajo Prep

Orion King, Navajo Prep

Xavier Nez, Navajo Prep

Tylen Morris, Navajo Prep

Javin Tracy, Newcomb

Javarius John, Newcomb

Deonquentin Begay, Newcomb

Orlandon Yazzie, Page

Tyree Stingley, Page

Gavin Justice, Piedra Vista

Devin Pierce, Piedra Vista

Kioni Charley, Pine Hill

Elias Andrew, Pine Hill

Landon Peshlakai, Ramah

Jonah Herbert, Red Mesa

Tyler Gray, Red Mesa

Raeden West, Rehoboth

Kaleb Vail, Rehoboth

Reece Black Moon, Rehoboth

To’aheedliinii Bahozhoni, Rock Point

Zyon Tsosie, Rock Point

Coltyn Littleben, Rock Point

Kyran Benavidez, Rock Point

Nevaughn Begay, Shiprock

Logan Pioche, Shiprock

Kyril Yazzie, St. Michael

Osceola Denny, St. Michael

Stetson Perry, Thoreau

Tyes Tahe, Thoreau

Hayden Yazzie, Tohatchi

Josh Dawes, Tohatchi

Valentino Dawes, Tohatchi

LaDainian Werito, Tsé Yi Gai

Tayden Arizona, Tuba City

Kyler Tewawina, Tuba City

Makai Yazzie, Valley

Joshua Begay, Valley

Timothy Long, Wingate

D’Wayne Nakai, Whitehorse

Lyric Phillips, Whitehorse

Blaine Begay, Winslow

Isaac David, Winslow

Keeshaul Martinez, Zuni

Matthew Halusewa, Zuni

Girls All-Star

Hailey Apachito, Alamo Navajo

Sapphira Sandoval, Alamo Navajo

Jazlyn Nosie, Alchesay

Jenieth Sanchez, Alchesay

Jaylyn Nashio, Alchesay

Shyann Massey, Alchesay

Kelila Lewis, Aztec

Nika McKenzie, Aztec

Danielle Johnson, Bloomfield

Aliya Quintana, Bloomfield

Thalia Tso, Bloomfield

Qoah Yazzie, Chinle

Temyra Bia, Chinle

Shaundiin Yazzie, Chinle

Dizhoon White, Chinle

Janaya Tom, Crownpoint

Tyra Tsosie, Crownpoint

Saige Murphy, Crownpoint

Kapiolani Anitielu, Farmington

Kamalani Anitielu, Farmington

Tinaya Parrish, Farmington

Kjani Anitielu, Farmington

Gracelyn Nez, Flagstaff

Alyssa Harris, Flagstaff

Sage Begay, Flagstaff

Jazmine Dugi, Flagstaff

Tyesha Wilson, Fort Thomas

Alleenna Gilbert, Fort Thomas

Daliyah Morris, Gallup

Rylie Whitehair, Gallup

Kiera Livingston, Gallup

Delia Tello, Gallup

Lucille Polingyumptewa, Hopi

Kaleigh Huma, Hopi

Aaryanna Lansing, Kirtland Central

Emilia Clani, Kirtland Central

Teghan Begay, Kirtland Central

Sylvia Gedman, Laguna Acoma

Erica Martin, Laguna Acoma

Gianna Carrillo, Laguna Acoma

Zoey Juan, Many Farms

Andralyn Chato, Many Farms

Shanoah Platero, Miyamura

Reika Secatero, Miyamura

Shyrai Shorty, Monument Valley

Kierra Johnson, Monument Valley

Keiryn Mann, Monument Valley

Paris Littleben, Monument Valley

Alyah Blackwater, Monument Valley, Utah

Precious Bedonie, Monument Valley, Utah

Raemi Nez, Monument Valley, Utah

Shimequa Hudson, Monument Valley, Utah

Aniya Johnson, Navajo Prep

Tru Billie, Navajo Prep

Shiloh Conn, Navajo Prep

Kassidy Jones, Navajo Prep

Keira Jenkins, Page

Sofia Cambridge, Page

Kylie Benale, Page

Virances Martinez, Pine Hill

Neveah Natan, Pine Hill

Delmarina Johnson, Red Mesa

Danika Chico, Red Mesa

Shaundeen Manygoats, Rehoboth

Meg Zwiers, Rehoboth

Rainee Bahe, Rock Point

Taylyn Woody, Rock Point

Sasha Chee, Rock Point

Tayleen Woody, Rock Point

Sydney Benally, Sandia

Mika Juan, Sandia Prep

Kaydence Platero, Shiprock

Leshanie Hadley, Shiprock

Brandi Dalgai, St. Michael

Kortney Bitselley, St. Michael

Leah Delgarito, Thoreau

Mychalyn King, Thoreau

Krischelle Largo, Thoreau

Alyce Apachito, To’hajiilee

Tyler rose Apachito, To’hajiilee

Donata Secatero, To’hajiilee

Kaidyn Wilson, To’hajiilee

Brooke Badonie, Tohatchi

WynterRose Sheka, Tohatchi

Marisa Denetso, Tohatchi

Crra Cecil, Tohatchi

Kailer Tsingine-Reid, Tuba City

Eriana Begay, Tuba City

Lilian Duncan, Volcano Vista

Storm Nguyen, Volcano Vista

Shunbaah Begay, Whitehorse

Lamyia Benally, Whitehorse

Melicia Nelson, Window Rock

Shiryl Yazzie, Window Rock

Myabelle Begay, Window Rock

Jayme Tso, Window Rock

Jaci Gonnie, Winslow

Shaelene Singer, Winslow

Anysa Tso, Winslow

Kaitlyn Belone, Winslow

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