ALBUQUERQUE — Like sister, like sister.
On a drizzly late winter afternoon in Albuquerque, Rainy and Nicole Crisp celebrated a rare sibling moment — a state basketball championship.
While Rainy the coach hollered instructions with a smile from the bench, her 17-year-old sister Nicole scored 23 points and pulled down 14 rebounds as Navajo Prep outlasted a gutty effort by Lordsburg for a 72-54 win in the Class 2A championship game.
The win gave Navajo Prep its fifth state championship since 1995 and sixth overall for the northwest New Mexico school that in the past has also been known as Navajo Academy.
The Lady Eagles, the state runners-up in 2008, finished with a 21-8 record.
Lordsburg, making its first appearance in a girls basketball championship game, never led in the game after falling behind 10-0 in the game’s first two minutes. But the Mavericks made a sterling second half rally that got them within 43-38 with 2:40 left in the third quarter.
The 10-3 run that got the Mavericks that close was led by senior Julia Talavera and junior Madonna Bustillos Talavera scored a pair of baskets and Bustillos had a layup and a 3-pointer in that stretch.
But Navajo Prep regained the momentum for good by scoring 11 straight points over the final two minutes of the third quarter and opening minute of the fourth quarter. That scoring streak included a pair of layups by senior Dalva Benny and a 3-pointer by Marqia Begaye.
The No. 5 Mavericks (20-7) were led by Kelsey Worthan with nine points. Alysha Marquez, Talavera and Bustillos each scored eight points.
For the Crisp family, playing in The Pit in March has become a tradition. Rainy Crisp played at Navajo Prep from 1994 to 1998 and was a key player in the school’s run of three state titles in that stretch. Asked which is more memorable, winning a state title as a player or as a coach, Rainy replied: “They’re both amazing feelings. Winning it as a player and holding up the trophy is great, but so is watching your girls make history.’’
Despite the loss, it was huge year for girls basketball in Lordsburg.
“We did the best we’ve ever done,’’ Lordsburg coach Rodney Plowman.