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

Clovis girls have eyes on upset


March 1, 2018

Tony Bullocks

Clovis junior Kaydee Weaver is defended by Manzano junior Melina Jones during the second round of the District 2-6A tournament. Clovis is heading to Las Cruces Friday to face the fifth-seeded Bulldawgs.

CLOVIS — Clovis High's girls basketball team will be rested, educated and prepared when it takes the Las Cruces High School floor for Friday night's 6 p.m. Class 6A first-round state playoff game.

Now all the Lady Wildcats have to do is win it.

That won't be easy for 12th-seeded Clovis against fifth-seeded Las Cruces, an experienced team looking to make one last championship run with its current core, nearly all of whom will graduate in May.

The Lady 'Cats, though, had three days off from practice Saturday, Sunday and Monday, recovering from last week's three-games-in-four-days district tournament pace. They had Monday to pore over film, study what they will be up against, who might give them the most trouble. They had the next three days to go hard in practice, including a pre-game practice today.

Friday, it will be time to play ball again. And they'll be doing it in a road gym five hours away against that experienced 24-4 team in a state-tournament situation where they know every game can be their last.

Gee, no pressure or anything.

Clovis (17-12) can only do its best when preparing and trying to match up.

"The good thing about Las Cruces is, they're not tall," Clovis head coach Jeff Reed said before the start of Tuesday's practice at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. "But they do pose some matchup problems. ... They've got some 5-7, 5-8 guards, so they're decent-sized guards.

"But, they don't have a true post player, which is good hopefully for us offensively, so maybe we can have the advantage for once inside."

Clovis may well have that advantage because 5-7 senior Alexis Lewis is the Lady Bulldawgs' main post. There is that Las Cruces experience, though, with Lewis, senior co-captains Sarah Abney, Janessa Johnson and Valeria Valtierra, and senior Brooke Salmon leading the way.

"I know they've had a few girls that have played varsity since their freshman year," Clovis senior guard Sydni Hill said. "And they can shoot the ball and they play defense. But we match up well with them because they don't really have any tall girls. So if we're able to keep their shooters from getting hot, we might have a chance."

How best to do that is something Reed has been pondering.

"I think they pose some matchup problems for us in man, but then they can shoot threes, so there are going to be problems with the zone," Reed said. "So I think we're going to have to definitely keep them on their toes Friday going back and forth from man to zone.

"And I don't know how much we can do as far as the press is concerned, either, because they're quick, they're guard-oriented, and us getting off a five-hour bus ride, it's going to be hard to have that energy to press, so we may have to do it in spurts and see what happens with it."

A lot to sort out, a lot to think about, a lot of strategy to figure out. But it's all good, as far as the Lady Wildcats are concerned. They're in the tournament, deemed one of Class 6A's top 16, one of the teams worthy to play for a state championship trophy.

"We didn't make it last year," Clovis senior guard Teya Morris said. "To make it this year, we proved a lot of people wrong. And knowing it's my last year, I'm very excited."


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