Shaylin Shabi Young singing the Diné national anthem prior to the start of the Mountain View High School vs. Westwood High School varsity girl’s basketball game on Jan. 25, 2024. (Photo by Adam Terro/ The Mesa Legend)

Miss Native MCC and Miss Native MCC 1st attendant act as masters of ceremony for “Rezball night” at Mountain View High School

The Mountain View High School girl’s basketball teams hosted their first ever “Rezball night” on Thursday, Jan. 25 to honor Native American heritage with Miss Native MCC and Miss Native MCC 1st attendant acting as master of ceremonies during the event. 

The game between Mountain View High School and Westwood High School had 10 players, four for Mountain View and six for Westwood, representing eight tribes, according to Mountain View girls basketball booster president Andrew Yazzie.

Flags of the represented tribes were displayed in the lobby of the Mountain View gymnasium.

Yazzie, with the help of the Inter-tribal Student Organization at MCC, organized the event and helped put everything together after a long planning process.

Along with a desire to spotlight Native American heritage, Yazzie also wished to spotlight girl’s sports and girl’s basketball in particular.

“I noticed that there was just no crowd like there are back home, and I was kind of shocked that one, the community wasn’t as involved as what we were used to and the other thing was that the level of talent I saw on the court, the basic fundamental elements of basketball, I didn’t see on the court,” said Yazzie.

Yazzie comes from the Four Corners area, where girls’ high school basketball is treated with a high level of respect and community engagement. 

Yazzie drew inspiration from the Phoenix Suns’ “Originativ” Game Night series from the 2022-2023 season.

“Just seeing that representation at that level, I thought ‘Okay it’s possible,’” said Yazzie.

Yazzie invited Sports Zone Radio, an online media company, to broadcast the game to the reservations up north so that the families and loved ones of the girls participating could watch their game and the festivities from their homes. 

“All these girls who have families up north or across the country would be able to tune in and not have to pay a fee to watch their granddaughter or niece play a basketball game and shed some light on the talent and the work that these girls are putting in down in the Valley,” said Yazzie.

Yazzie, who has a daughter on the Mountain View High School girl’s team, recalled their jerseys being over five years old, despite the new jerseys being made for other sports teams on a yearly basis. 

“That’s really what kind of lit the fire for me as far as, like, these girls need a voice and I want to be that voice for them. I’m happy to say, this year is our second year in a row that we got brand new jerseys for the varsity girls, and those old jerseys that my daughter was playing in are completely out of the school property I believe,” said Yazzie.

The festivities for “Rezball night” included the welcoming of the Miss Native MCC court, as well as a Miss Salt River land acknowledgement before the game.

A Chichino spirit performance followed the acknowledgement before Shaylin Shabi Young sang the Diné national anthem.

During halftime, dance performances took the court as there was a traditional basket dance with Wakangli drum and powwow dancers.

Additional dances included a men’s traditional dance, men’s grass dance, women’s jingle dress dance and a women’s fancy dance.

Fry bread was also sold during the festivities in both plain and sweet varieties, with proceeds benefiting the Mountain View girl’s basketball program.

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