Lady Cougars pick up two more wins at Jerry Richardson Memorial

The Monument Valley High School girls basketball team picked up two wins and lost once in a solid three-day weekend at the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament in Shiprock, NM.
The Lady Cougars opened the tournament on November 30 with a 48-42 win over Montezuma-Cortez, CO. Shimequa Hudson led scoring for Monument Valley with nine points. She drained six of her eight free throw attempts in the game.
Mariah Begaye and Kaylisa Tome each scored eight points. Precious Bedonie and Shilah Williams each had seven points while Shikeeya Hudson scored six and Nevaeh Wilson scored three.
On December 1 the Lady Cougars dropped a close game against Shiprock 64-61. Seniors Bedonie and Wilson each had 16 points for the Cougars while Shimequa Hudson poured in ten.
Shikeeya Hudson added eight points, Begaye scored six, Williams had four, and Malaya Blackmountain scored one.
In their final game of the tournament Monument Valley played longtime rival Whitehorse on December 2. The Lady Cougars handled their familiar foe easily in a 52-30 victory over the Lady Raiders.
Shimequa Hudson led the team with 16 points, Wilson dropped in 13, and Blackmountain scored ten in the win. Bedonie had six points, Begaye scored five, and LeighAn Atene added two points.
Sixth-year Monument Valley Head Coach Terri James recently shared her thoughts about her Lady Cougars and the young 2023-24 season in an email interview with the San Juan Record.
SJR: You’re coming off a great season where you finished fifth in the state. How are things shaping up for the team this year?
Terri James: Things are moving along. We have some returning seniors who are experienced and will be an asset to the team this year, but we also have some new players who are just starting and learning. Basically we have two extremes which makes it hard at times, but we will work through that and get everyone on the same page.
SJR: What players are you expecting to step up to take leadership roles?
TJ: Anyone on this team can be a leader, but Shimequa Hudson and Precious Bedonie are my two seniors who I expect to step up as leaders this year.
SJR: Do you have any who have come out of nowhere and surprised you?
TJ: Not really. Freshman Malayah Blackmountain is getting some varsity playing time. I’ve watched her play junior high basketball so I knew what she was capable of.
SJR: Tell me a little bit about the players who will get most of the playing time this season.
TJ: My seniors, Shimequa Hudson, Mariah Begaye, Nevaeh Wilson, and Precious Bedonie will all be getting a lot of playing time. They have the most experience and have played together the longest.
Sophomore Shikeeya Hudson will be getting  a lot of playing time. She is strong and has experienced varsity play from last year. Those girls will be the core of the team. They all have different strengths and weaknesses but together they become a more balanced team.
SJR: In what areas do you think the team will be strong this season?
TJ: Let’s just say our offense will be a little stronger than our defense.
SJR: Where might you need some work?
TJ: Defense and speed. We are not as fast as in the past, so speed is something we need to work on. We need to work on becoming better shooters, both inside the paint and at the three-point line. Our shooting percentage is not very high. We also need to work on making our free throws. We are not consistent yet in this area of the game.
SJR: I know it’s early, but what do you know about the main opponents you’ll face this season?
TJ: We look at every team as main opponents and we never take a team for granted. Every team has their strengths, so we try to prepare for each team differently and play our best.
SJR: What are your expectations for the season?
TJ: This season our team expectations are to play better defensively and be better at communicating with each other.
SJR: What are you hoping to accomplish this year?
TJ: We hope to become better teammates to each other and improve on our communication and basketball skills – especially shooting. We hope to learn from our wins and losses and make it to the state tournament.
Monument Valley will have an opportunity to do that this weekend when they head to Orderville, UT for a tournament at Valley High School December 8-9. They’ll open against Parowan at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

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