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

Prep basketball: Grady girls survive

 

February 27, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Clovis Christian forward Lora DeGroot goes up for a jumper in the third quarter of Monday's District 6-1A tournament game at Grady.

GRADY — The Clovis Christian and Grady girls basketball teams have struggled throughout the year, as evidenced by the fact they were playing Monday night in the first round of the District 6-1A tournament.

But both teams executed late, giving the crowd a nailbiter 46-43 win for the host Broncos.

Teryn Foote had a game-high 18 points, and Timia Northcutt hit a pair of free throws on an intentional foul call with 14.8 seconds to go to give Grady (5-20) just enough of an advantage to move on to Tuesday’s second round at Fort Sumner.

Clovis Christian (5-15), led by Sofi Garbarino’s 15 points, got a final chance with nine seconds to go but couldn’t get a game-tying attempt off against a swarming Broncho defense.

The late finish certainly wasn’t something the crowd anticipated early, after the Eagles went without a field goal in the first quarter and trailed 14-4 after one and 28-17 at the half.

But a few elements were at play that hinted an Eagle comeback was possible. Grady battled foul trouble throughout the night, with three players picking up two fouls in the first, followed by their third fouls in the second.

“I was pretty concerned because two of my starters, Morgan Becerra and Kristin Grau, were in foul trouble — and then our sixth man, Bailey Montoya, got in foul trouble as well,” Grady coach Rebecca Burns said. “I knew it was going to come down to us playing smart.”

Of course, the Eagles have to do that every game with a roster that includes only six girls. Clovis Christian lost Makayla Robinson to fouls late, and faced the late nightmare of going four-on-five with both Emma Maddy and Lola DeGroot at four fouls late.

When you face that possible scenario every game, Eagles coach Chris Hanks said, you stop worrying about it.

“Crazy as it sounds, I wasn’t concerned,” Hanks said. “It’s not something I can let consume me.”

The Eagles whittled down the lead throughout the third, and it was a one-possession game or tied for the final 6:11. The Eagles took their first lead with 3:05 to go on a bucket by Emma Maddy, who had 10 points for the Eagles.

Kevin Wilson

Isabelle Martinez gets her hands on the ball for a tie-up with Clovis Christian's Emma Maddy in the third quarter of Monday's District 6-1A tournament game. Grady took a 46-43 victory to move on to a Tuesday night matchup at Fort Sumner.

In battling back, Hanks said, “I told them to do what they’ve done all year, and that was to just play hard. I knew we’d have a chance because we worked hard all season long, and they don’t play like there’s six (of them). I knew the girls weren’t going to quit.”

Neither team scored for another two minutes, until Becerra hit a pair of free throws to make it 44-43 and Grady found a way to survive.

With Grady down a few players due to foul-outs, a spark came on defense from Isabelle Martinez, who only scored two points but disrupted the Eagle offense plenty with pesky defense at the top.

“At the end, it was huge with the pressure she put on their ballhandlers,” Burns said of Martinez. “Getting those touches put us in the flow we needed to finish strong.”

Clovis Christian, Hanks said, should be a strong team next year, but it will be another coach’s opportunity with him vacating the job due to time constraints as the school’s athletic director. There are no seniors, and only one junior, on the roster.

 
 

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