New York Times returns to Navajo Nation for another 'rez ball' story

The Chinle High School boys basketball team defeated the team from Holbrook High School by 40-40 on February 15, 2017. Photo: Reid M. Brady

Sports writer Michael Powell of The New York Times is back with another "rez ball" story from the Navajo Nation.

Powell, who once lived on the reservation, has been following the Chinle High School boys basketball team and its new coach, Raul Mendoza. Under his leadership, the Wildcats are finishing the season with 17 wins and 14 defeats, a much better record than the year prior.

“There’s nothing wrong with not achieving your goal, but you have to fight,” Mendoza, who is a citizen of the Tohono O'odham Nation, told the paper. “Those boys are intelligent and fight hard.”

Powell watched as the Wildcats took on rivals both on and off the reservation -- the team defeated Holbrook, where Mendoza used to coach, by just one basket on February 15. They weren't successful in their matchup against Blue Ridge but senior Nachae Nez managed to score 28 points and was named player of the game, according to MaxPreps.Com.

Read More on the Story:
For Navajo Team, a Season of Change and Challenge (The New York Times 2/26)

Earlier Story:
In Navajo Nation, a Basketball Elder Earns Respect (The New York Times 1/1)