Sports & Health
NABI Roundup
By Dalton Walker

Salt River Renegades’ Tournament Run Ends Two Wins Short of Consolation Title Game

Tournament results:
SR Renegades 45, Wakolim U’Uni (Arizona) 25
SR Renegades 44, GR Beeliners (Arizona) 24
SR Renegades 31, Northern Thunder (Arizona) 61

Pool play results:
SR Renegades 43, NxtGeneration (New Mexico) 21
SR Renegades 40, Cheyenne Arapaho (Oklahoma) 59
SR Renegades 25, A1 Elite (Arizona) 33

The Salt River Renegades fell two wins short of an appearance in the Native American Basketball Invitational Silver Division championship game.

The Renegades, led by coach Robert Ramirez, lost to eventual Silver Division champ Northern Thunder 61-31 in the third round of NABI’s consolation tournament. In all, the Renegades played three tournament games and three pool-play games.

“Honestly, we played okay, but we didn’t do as well as we expected to,” Ramirez said. “Overall, the girls played pretty good. The team we played last was good, but our girls didn’t come out to their full potential.”

All games were played in Maricopa, except the two Gold Division championship games held July 2 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.

The Renegades went 1-2 in pool play, missing out on the Gold Division tournament by one win. Pool play started June 27 and tournament play started June 29. The Ak-Chin Indian Community hosted the event. The Renegades were one of 52 teams to participate in NABI 2016 girls division.

The biggest benefit of NABI, Ramirez said, was the opportunity for players to meet other players from across the country.

“NABI is a competitive tournament,” he said. “We get to see teams from other states. The girls, I believe their best experience is meeting up with teams from other tribes, and they also benefit from the competition.”

Momentum Doesn’t Carry Over in Tournament Play for AZ Lady Warrior

Tournament results:
AZ Lady Warrior 28, NW LadyWarriors (Idaho) 38

Pool play results:
AZ Lady Warrior 52, Lady Lebrada (South Dakota) 37
AZ Lady Warrior 55, Na’Tsista (Oklahoma) 29
AZ Lady Warrior 44, Scammon Bay (Alaska) 39  

Momentum from three straight pool-play wins and a first-round tournament bye wasn’t enough for the Arizona Lady Warrior basketball team.

The team was knocked out of the popular Native American Basketball Invitational Gold Division’s second round by a team from Idaho. NW LadyWarriors beat Lady Warrior 38-28 on June 30. Lady Warrior was made up of mostly Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members.

“I don’t think we came out with great emotion,” coach Shawn Lytle said. “In pool play, you can kind of play like that; but in bracket play, when you’re one and done, you have to come out ready to go, and we didn’t do that. It wasn’t our best game.”

NABI’s weeklong event started June 27 and ended July 2 with girls and boys title games at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. All other games were played in Maricopa and hosted by the Ak-Chin Indian Community.

Teams that won at least two games in the four-team pool play automatically qualified for the Gold tournament. Lady Warrior went 3-0 in pool play and received a bye. Byes were determined before tournament play start by random selection.

Lytle and his team expect to be back next summer. The team loses one senior.

“We definitely have a chance to be a special team in the coming years,” he said.

Early Overtime Loss Hurts Run N Gun

Tournament results:
Run N Gun 37, NN Lady Magic (Arizona) 25
Run N Gun 37, Aly-Oops (Arizona) 43

Pool play results:
Run N Gun 32, Lady Elite (Arizona) 21
Run N Gun 32, Kirtland (New Mexico) 33, double overtime
Run N Gun 18, Big Sky Freeze (Montana) 52  

A two-overtime, 1-point loss against a team from New Mexico in the Native American Basketball Invitational was the difference for a chance in the Gold Division tournament.

The 33-32, two-overtime defeat to Kirtland and a 52-18 loss to Big Sky Freeze of Montana in pool play sent Run N Gun to NABI’s Silver Division (consolation) tournament.

Two wins are required in pool play to qualify for the Gold Division tournament. Run N Gun won its first pool-play game over Lady Elite, 32-21.

Run N Gun’s tournament run ended in the third round after a loss to Aly-Oops 43-37. The team, coached by Ephraim Sloan, included a few Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members.

Run N Gun received a tournament bye thanks to pool-play random selection and defeated NN Lady Magic 37-25 in the second round before losing to Aly-Oops.


N8V Thunder Falls Short in NABI’s Gold Division Bracket

By Sheila Begay

Bracket results:
N8V Thunder 25, Rez Ballerz (KS) 43

Pool play results:
N8V Thunder 39, Pink Thunder (NM) 18
N8V Thunder 23, Seminoles (FL) 48
N8V Thunder 41, Team Eyepatch (AZ) 35

Basketball team N8V Thunder, coached by Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Gabriel Scabby, battled against some of the most talented Native athletes from across the country in the 14th Annual Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI), held throughout various gyms within the Ak-Chin Indian Community from June 26 to July 2. Unfortunately, the team fell short of making it into the Sweet 16 Gold Division bracket.

Community member Shaylee Scabby, who will be a sophomore at Skyline High School, plays on the team. This is her second year participating in the basketball tournament. But she is no newbie to the “rez ball” environment, as she is sponsored through the Salt River Children’s Foundation and is therefore given an opportunity to play basketball across the country. “We’re hoping for the best,” said Gabriel Scabby about his daughter Shaylee’s future in basketball.

The girls’ team of eight gave the tournament all they had. N8V Thunder played a total of four games and ended their NABI tournament with two wins and two losses. The team’s assistant coach is Community member Jessica Scabby.

“We tried our best, but we came up short. We’re rebuilding; we’ll probably have the same group of girls for the next couple of years. We lost four seniors last year, and this year two of our girls got injured. This year, as a group we just wanted to make the Gold bracket because we weren’t too sure how well we were going to do,” said coach Scabby.

“We lost our second game against the Seminoles. They were really good. They had a stacked team and some really good players there. We knew that they were going to be a tough team. It was aggressive rez ball; it was really good, but we ended up losing,” said Scabby during a recap of the tournament.

“When we played Team Eyepatch, the girls did a great job. They passed the ball really well, they got in their threes, they played good defense and Shaylee came up really good with her defensive rebounds. We ended up getting a lot of points off of defense. I’m looking forward to the next couple of years,” added Scabby.

The girls love the NABI tournament and they love playing together, Scabby said. “They’re so young, they have so much hope and they understand the opportunity that they get just by playing in these gyms, tournaments and even just rubbing shoulders with these kids from other states. The biggest thing that we’ve taken is the unity from friends and family who have other teams as well, coming from as far away as North Dakota [and] Oklahoma, and so it was a very positive thing here.”


Sports & Health
NABI Roundup
Recreation Day Camp, Session 1
Phoenix Mercury Players Show Off Basketball Moves in Lehi
Shoni Schimmel Encourages Native Youth to Follow Their Dreams