The Alamo Navajo nation was hit hard during the pandemic. Its basketball team was unable to practice in the schools’ facilities, participating in voluntary drills on outdoor courts across the reservation. The Cougars Boys team entered the Steer Stampede tournament having lost during a road trip to Albuquerque against the Evangelical Legacy Christian Academy.
Alamo took home a loss Thursday against Pine Hill, losing 63-59. In the second round, the Cougars came up against a buzzsaw in the Legacy Academy Silverbacks, going down 54-36.
“We just could not execute tonight,” senior Jai Apachito said. “We need to work on our defense and get to moving as a team. We were working together and never stopping, especially in the third quarter. We just need to keep working together and try to play a full four quarters.”
The Cougars had their backs against the wall with Legacy coming out hot to the tune of 17-3. Junior Noah Gantt was scoring at will against the Alamo defense. It was 19-8 after the first quarter.
Alamo would not go away, fighting hard midgame as the crew utilized midrange jumpers as opposed to settling for the three.
Battling was not enough for the Cougars as they could not find holes against the Silverback defense. Legacy led from start to finish. Head Coach Jeremiah Apachito was encouraged by his team’s effort in the game.
“We have a young team,” he said. “These kids are improving. We need to play more defense, but we’re getting there slowly. Our guys keep their heads up all the way until the end. I just try to tell the guys to keep fighting and motivate each other on every play. Focus on defense, defense, defense. I am very proud of the effort these kids put out. Considering the problems they had to face, this team played hard here today.”
The 0-2 Alamo Navajo Cougars will host Capitan tonight at 8 p.m. before going on the road on Dec. 17 against Reserve.