Whitehorse High School scheduled a Parent/Teacher Conference for Tuesday, February 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. At first, the usual 10 percent of parents showed up to check on their student’s progress. Then, just before 6 p.m., parents began to arrive. It seemed like all the Navajo parents in the southern part of the reservation were at the Parent Teacher Conference. The parking lot was three deep with trucks and cars all around the high school.
It brought memories of the Four Corners manhunt, when we had television trucks, news reporters, and police departments from all four states with horses and tracking dogs.
How did Principal John Fahey get all the parents to be concerned about their children’s education and progress? He didn’t even use native foods like mutton stew and frybread to lure in the parents.
Not only was Vice Principal Dixon and the 30 high school teachers there, but San Juan School District Superintendant Doug Wright, and school supervisor Ron Nielson were there. Nielson had a camera to document the phenomenon.
Maybe he is going to call PBS nightly news, but more of the little giants of the San Juan County, including Neil Joslin, Editor and owner of the Panorama, the Cave Man and Monticello’s chiropractor / coach Rhett Maughan also attended.
How can a school draw 100 percent of the parents to the Parent – Teacher Conference?
A yellow piece of craft paper taped to the school door helped explain the mystery. It read, “Last home game with Monticello at 7 p.m. tonight. Come support your team”.
Whitehorse came into the game hoping to beat Monticello and to share first place in Region 19. The Raider’s hopes were dashed as the Buckaroos came from behind at half time to win by nine points, to win 77 to 68. With the win, Monticello remains in first place in Region 19.
Nevertheless, it was a close game. The score was tied four times throughout the game.
In the first quarter, Monticello jumped out to a 7-3 lead and Whitehorse called timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Raider Shawn Dixon hit two 3 pointers to tie up the game at 15.
After a couple of charging fouls by both teams, Whitehorse resorted to fouling. In the first half, 11 fouls were called against the Raiders and only two against the Bucks. Monticello made six free throws and Whitehorse made two.
It was a fast-paced game. With seconds winding down towards half-time, the Raiders hit a 3 pointer to take a one point lead into to locker room, 34-33.
At halftime, five Whitehorse seniors were given jackets in honor of their final home game. They are Kenny Whitehair, son of Beverly and Amos Whitehair; Joshua John, son of Rodney and Cecelia John; Pierce Benally Jr., son of Pierce and Debbie Benally; Brian Johnson, son of Anthony and Genevieve Johnson; and Josiah Begay, son of Joseph and Susie Begay.
In the third quarter, the game was still close. The Bucks enjoyed a four point lead, 47-43. Doing most of the damage in the middle was Joe Weatherford. He made two critical shots to extend the lead 51-45 with two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
Whitehorse came galloping back when Daniel Torres fouled Shawn Dickson, who made two free throws to end the third quarter with the Bucks leading 58-53.
“Dickson scored 21 points in the first half and we knew we had to limit his shots by guarding him closely. We also played good defense as a team” explained Buckaroo head coach Rhett Maughan.
Josh John was the only other Raider to score in double figures, with ten points. No one else stepped to the plate to help Dickson, who scored 37 points for the night.
It seemed that the Raiders were afraid to shoot and kept depending on Dickson to carry the team.
Keliah Holly and Kenny Whitehair added seven points each. Freshman starter Tavis Martin could only muster four points.
“It was a physical game and we didn’t get favorable calls,” admits Raider Head Coach Matt Baldwin, “Instead of being tied for first place, we now have to fight two region teams, Green River and Monument Valley, and win on their home court to stay in second place. We have to win these two games to get a decent seating at the state tournament”.
For Monticello it was a balanced scoring from four players; Daniel Torres with 20 points; Joe Weatherford with 16, Dallin Duncan with 13, and Conner Frost with 10. It was Frost who clinched the win, making six out of six free throws down the stretch.
With one minute to go, Keliah Holly had two shots with the score 70-66. Two made shots would have made it 70-68, but unfortunately, he missed both of them.
After that, the Raiders had to foul to get the ball back. Shawn Dixon played the whole fourth quarter with four fouls. Josh John fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
With the loss, Whitehorse is now in second place in Region 19, but it is an uphill battle to stay in second place, as the season winds down.
Monticello is likely to keep their number one standing through the end of the Region 19 regular season.