The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Elida takes two from Clovis Christian

 

February 11, 2018

Kevin Wilson

Elida junior Madison Ferguson takes a shot against Clovis Christian freshman Abby Lusk in the second quarter of Saturday's District 4-1A game at Clovis Christian.

CLOVIS — It was the one that almost got away.

That's what Elida boys basketball players and coaches were thinking as they left Clovis Christian's home gym on Saturday night. The Tigers had built up a 13-point fourth quarter lead and had held the Eagles scoreless in the third quarter, and yet, that lead evaporated.

Elida, however, put forth a strong overtime effort to earn a 51-44 victory.

"We've been there before, so we really just tried to go out and play with confidence and continue to do what we had success with," Elida coach Logan Turnbow said. "Which was work the ball and try to take smart shots. We really tried to settle down. I thought towards the end of the fourth quarter when (Clovis Christian) did make that surge, we let their pressure defense kind of get to us a little bit. That forced us into some shots we weren't necessarily looking for, or that we're accustomed to taking. It was really just calming my guys down."

Elida (8-14, 3-4) trailed by seven, late in the first half, before going on an astounding 20-0 run. Kaull Burton's basket-and-1, coupled with Teagan Burton's lay-in cut the deficit to two, heading into intermission. A 3-pointer from Baylee Oder and a bank shot by Wesley Poling put the Tigers ahead by 11, 33-22, entering the fourth quarter.

In fact, the Eagles (5-17, 2-6) were held scoreless in the third, and soon trailed by 13, early in the fourth. However, Clovis Christian would not go away that easily, as Jaylen Hyman drained a trey to cut it to two with 2:12 remaining in regulation, while Tyler Lingnau soon tied it up at 41-all with a steal and layup.

Both sides traded missed shots and turnovers before Hyman had a chance at the last shot, but his mid-range jumper rimmed out, sending the game to overtime. In the extra session, it was the Tigers early and often, thanks to Colton Ferguson's floater and Cris Diaz' putback.

"We got down (13) points, and I tell the kids all the time, 'Third quarter is the quarter.' So we got down, and we just had to battle back," Eagles coach Corey Pickett explained. "They're young — all but one is a freshman. I just told them to play hard, and we started to press."

Elida will finish its regular season next week with home games against Clovis Christian and Melrose on Tuesday and Thursday. For Turnbow, while he's still trying to build a young Tiger program, there's no doubt in his mind that Elida boys basketball has made immense progress over the past year.

"It's been (an) up and down (season)," Turnbow said. "As a second-year program, we anticipated struggling at times, obviously. We look really young at times, we look inexperienced still, but where we were a year ago to now today, we're two completely different basketball teams.

"We work hard, we've come together as a family. We understand our roles, we understand that playing at a high level means that not everybody gets to take the same shots or the same amount of shots. We've embraced our roles and we work hard in practice, just trying to get better everyday."

As for Saturday afternoon's District 4-1A girls game between the two teams, things weren't exactly as close. On one end of the spectrum was an extremely young Clovis Christian (5-17, 3-5) squad, while the other featured seven-time defending 1A state champion Elida (18-6, 8-0). The Tigers wasted little time in taking control of Saturday's game, winning 63-26.

"It was a good game for us to come back and do some things better than we did last night," Tigers coach Jaden Isler said, following Friday night's 31-30 loss to Tatum. "We didn't play well yesterday, and I had some goals that I wanted to see done better in this game. I thought we finished better, I thought we were more ready to go before the game, and those were things that I was looking for."

After Elida's Kasyn Creighton and Clovis Christian's Lola DeGroot exchanged baskets to start the game, it was all Tigers from there. Creighton scored 13 of Elida's 21 first quarter points, while Lacy Ferguson added six of the other eight. A Megan Falcon buzzer-beater to end the first half ultimately gave Elida a 39-10 lead.

All told, Creighton and Ferguson combined for 40 points, as Creighton had 23 and Ferguson had 17. DeGroot, meanwhile, had 17 of the Eagles' 26 points on the day. As for Eagles coach Mike DeGroot, while the result may be tough, it's a learning experience for where he wants his team to be in the future.

"If that's where we eventually want to be, we need to see that. We have such a young team, we're gonna get there, and we're embracing that process. For us, even in a blowout loss, we're learning," DeGroot said.

On a positive note, his Eagles have three wins in arguably the state's toughest district.

Kevin Wilson

Elida senior Kaul Burton scores the basket and draws the foul from Clovis Christian's Tyler Lingnau in the first half of Saturday's District 4-1A contest.

"That's a really big deal," DeGroot said, "and I think we're ready to make it to the point that we might be able to get into state - that's all we really wanted to do. (Especially) as a first-year coach, with three freshmen, two sophomores and an eighth grader."

Elida will meet Clovis Christian again on Tuesday, before taking on mighty Melrose on Thursday night. For Isler and company, this matchup could prove to be deja vu, but for his Tigers' sake, he hopes not. "Anytime you get No. 1 and No. 2 in the state together, it's gonna be a big game. It's gonna be a tough game for both teams. We're glad to have that one at home, but we were in that exact same situation last year — we won the first meeting, and ended up losing the second one and the playoff game," Isler explained.

"I've told the girls that our destiny is in our hands, and we can control it. We're focusing on us, and the things that we're doing well and not well, and trying to make sure we have all that wrapped up, before we got into that game."

 

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