The Lori Piestewa National Native American Games were held July 10-14. A number of Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community girls basketball teams took part, playing in gyms in Salt River, Fort McDowell and Fountain Hills. Teams were composed of fourth- to 12th-graders, with each team guaranteed at least three games of full-court, five-on-five action in the double-elimination tournament.
Girls Fifth- and Sixth-Grade Division
Community member Gabriel Scabby coached a new up-and-coming girls team called N8V Thunder, featuring members of the SRPMIC and other Arizona tribes. The team competed in the Fifth- and Sixth-Grade Division.
The Thunder’s first game was a bye. In their second game, N8V Thunder defeated the Lady Thunder, 16-8. In their third game, N8V Thunder went head-to-head with the Lady Hawks, which would determine if they would go on to the championship game. The Lady Hawks dominated N8V Thunder, beating them out of the bracket with a score of 48-16.
N8V Thunder then moved down to the second bracket, but they still had a chance at the championship title. They played two more games before putting up a fight against team Who Cares; the Thunder fell short by 6 points, losing to Who Cares 27-21. The N8V Thunder came out in fourth place in the division.
In the same division, the Salt River Renegades team played first against Who Cares on Thursday, July 11, at the new Rancho Solano Preparatory gym. In a back-and-forth shootout, the Renegades fell by 3 points, moving into the second bracket. The Renegades won their next two games, but in their third game in the second bracket they lost to Who Cares once again, taking them out of the tournament. The Renegades finished in fifth place in the division.
Girls Varsity Division
In the Varsity Division, the Lady Warriors fought head-to-head with four other all-Indian teams, almost making it to the championship game. They fell in the semifinal game against Lady Magic, 40-73. The girls were beat out of the top bracket by the Varsity Division Renegades during their third game. The Lady Warriors defeated the Fort Mohave Girls and Shock by more than 10 points each game.
“We have strengths—they can all drive and shoot, and they all play at a pretty good level throughout the school year, so we have some good players this year,” said Coach Jessica Scabby.
The Lady Warriors came in third, receiving bronze in Varsity Division.
Salt River Renegades took home the gold in the varsity division championship.
On Thursday July 11, the Renegades played against Those Girls at Fountain Hills Junior High School. The Renegades took the lead from the very start of the game, getting the ball in their possession. They didn’t hesitate for a second and took each opportunity they saw throughout the game.
By halftime, the Renegades had a 15-5 lead. When Those Girls seemed to be getting exhausted, the Renegades went full speed on the court and took advantage of the time. By the end of the game, the score was 56-13.
Throughout the games, the Renegades played well as they advanced to the finals and made their way to the championship. “They won most of their games,” said Lavird Ramirez.
In the championship game, they played against Lady Magic. The Renegades lost in a tough game, with the score Lady Magic 61, Renegades 45. As runners-up, the Renegades won silver in the varsity division.
About the Games
The Lori Piestewa National Native American Games were established in 2003, when the Grand Canyon State Games announced the inaugural games to honor PFC Lori Piestewa. She was the first woman to lose her life during combat in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the first Native American woman in history to die in combat.