By Peter Stein
Staff writer 

Lady 'Cats win by 13


February 10, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Clovis senior Antanishwa Molett draws contact from Roswell junior Jalen Baca in the first half of Friday's District 4-5A contest.

CLOVIS - This hasn't been the easiest season for Clovis' young girls basketball team. So when the Lady Wildcats earned their first District 4-5A victory Friday night, it was a big deal.

There wasn't a ton of scoring at Rock Staubus Gymnasium, but more by the Lady 'Cats than their opponents from Roswell. That was thanks in part to good Clovis defense and some timely shooting, including a buzzer-beating three from junior guard Aydan Everett at the end of the first quarter.

All in all a solid night for the Lady 'Cats, ending in a 45-32 victory they hope leads to more solid nights and more victories before the season's done.

"A good win for us to be able to get a win in district," Clovis head coach Jeff Reed said.

"It's awesome," junior guard Annabelle Martinez said of the district win after scoring a team-high 11 points that helped secure it.

For a while in the first quarter, though, it seemed like no one wanted to even score, let alone win. 2:11 had elapsed after tip-off before Martinez finally gave Clovis a 2-0 edge with a layup.

Lady Wildcats junior forward Madison Tolbert halted Roswell's ensuing possession with a steal, and Tolbert ended the Clovis possession she created with a layup that made it 4-0.

It was 10-0 Clovis after a Martinez runner in the lane, two Antanishwa Molett foul shots and a Mikyla Harkley basket on another possession created by a Tolbert steal.

Skylair Lopez's bank shot with 2:02 left in the first quarter finally put Roswell on the scoreboard and also started a little run by the Lady Coyotes, as consecutive Makenzie Tarin baskets brought them within 10-6.

Clovis' next possession ended when Lopez came up with a steal, but Roswell couldn't capitalize on the opportunity. The Lady Wildcats, though, did capitalize when they reclaimed possession on a defensive board.

Clovis moved to Roswell's half of the court and the ball went out of bounds off the Coyotes on the right side with 2.7 seconds to go in the quarter. After Everett caught the inbound pass, she calmly and quickly sank a trey to make it 13-6 at quarter's end.

Though Cheyenne Martinez's runner in the lane brought Roswell within five points early in the second quarter, Clovis scored three straight on one free throw from Molett and two from Tolbert to go up by eight.

Roswell hung in, however, and trailed just 21-15 at halftime. The third quarter was where Clovis put its stamp on the game, outscoring the Coyotes 15-5.

Tolbert started it, bending sideways on a jumper that stretched the Wildcats' lead to eight again. And after Roswell closed to 23-16, Harkley stuck a jumper to hand Clovis a nine-point advantage.

Mercedes Velasco scored to make it a seven-point difference again, but consecutive hoops from Molett and Tolbert gave the Lady Wildcats their first double-digit lead since the 10-0 spurt to start the game, this time a 29-18 margin.

A Martinez one-hander made it single digits one last time, before Clovis scored five straight points to end the third quarter - on a driving shot by Molett, a right-elbow trey from Martinez and a layup by Everett - allowing the Wildcats to carry a 36-20 lead into the fourth.

"We had a good third period," Reed said. "We had a nine-, ten-point lead and expanded it up to 16, and that really blew open the game, put the pressure on Roswell. They started making some mistakes, forced some shots, turned the ball over. That gave us a great opportunity to be able to keep it at that length."

Kaydee Weaver drove for a hoop to begin the fourth-quarter scoring, which gave the Lady 'Cats an 18-point lead and kept them rolling.

They hope to go rolling into this coming week, when Carlsbad comes to the Rock looking to rebound from Friday's 46-42 home loss, the Cavegirls' first district setback this season.

"We need to get mentally ready," Martinez said.

"It's going to be very challenging," Reed said. "Carlsbad was 2-0 (in district) until (Friday night). ... They'll have to travel almost three hours up here, so maybe we can use that to our advantage. But it's the same old story - I think we'll have opportunities to stop Carlsbad, I think we'll have opportunities to score. We've just got to finish 'em when we get those opportunities. It was 13-9 (in Carlsbad's favor) at the end of the first half the first time we played them. We had opportunities to have that lead, but didn't take advantage of them. So if we can make it close, keep it close, we'll maybe have an opportunity at home to get over the top."


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