Clovis girls hope win secures bracket bid
Last updated 2/29/2020 at 5:20pm
CLOVIS — Sunday should be as suspenseful as it is interesting for the Clovis girls basketball team.
Will the Lady Wildcats, 12-16 after Thursday night’s 32-21 loss at Carlsbad, be deemed good enough for a state-tournament seed? Did they do enough with Tuesday night’s 48-32 home win over Roswell?
The Lady ’Cats can only hope.
Victories in both games probably would’ve done it. But now ...
“That win (Tuesday) might have solidified us making the playoffs,” Clovis head coach Jeff Reed said after his team had topped the Lady Coyotes. “I’ve been telling the girls, if we won this game against Roswell I think we’re in.”
Welcome to life on the playoff bubble.
“In the MaxPreps poll (Tuesday) we were 16 (in the state 5A rankings). In the coaches poll (Tuesday), we were 16,” Reed said. “So I think getting that win (Tuesday night) might’ve solidified us.
“I think, I think.”
Either way, Tuesday’s win gave Clovis a three-game sweep of Roswell this season.
“I know it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row,” Clovis junior post Hanna Nussbaumer said after scoring a game-high 17 points.
So Tuesday’s victory in Clovis’ home finale was huge. And not as lopsided as the 16-point difference may have indicated.
With roughly 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, Clovis was actually down 24-21. A right-elbow three by Lady Wildcats junior Alandra Romero tied it at 24, and on Roswell’s ensuing possession, the Lady Coyotes’ Amariah Toscano was called for an offensive foul. On the Clovis possession resulting from that, Nussbaumer scored, drew a foul, and completed the three-point play from the line, putting her team up 27-24 with 1:28 remaining in the third quarter.
With 19 seconds left in the third, Cierra Jenkins went 1-for-2 from the line, stretching Clovis’ lead to 28-24.
On they went to the fourth quarter, the opening possession of which belonged to Clovis and ended with a left-arc trey by Annabelle Martinez, increasing the Lady Wildcats’ lead to 31-24.
With 5:40 left in the fourth quarter, a Skyler Jordan putback made it 33-24 and completed a 12-0 Clovis run that changed the game’s complexion. The Lady Wildcats’ lead was never less than seven from then on.
It was 35-28 Clovis with a little over four minutes left, when Nussbaumer scored two more of her 17 with a field goal, the start of both a 7-0 run that put the contest out of reach and a 13-4 run to close it out.
“Which is great, I’m glad we won,” a weary Reed said, “but why didn’t we come out in the first quarter? Why do we play around? We’ve got to do better.”
Clovis had ended that first quarter trailing 8-6. By halftime, the points still weren’t flowing — Clovis was down 19-18. And though the Lady Wildcats opened the third-quarter scoring with a leftside trey from Aydan Everett that gave them a 21-19 lead, Roswell soon went back ahead on a Tori Sandoval three and added a wide-open jumper by Mercedes Velasco to make it 24-21, before Clovis took off.
“Yeah, finally,” Reed said.
“We just started finishing our shots more,” Nussbaumer said. “We knew that, in order to win, we had to finish our shots because Roswell just wasn’t going to give it to us.”
CARLSBAD — The defense was fine for Clovis High’s girls on Thursday night. If they could’ve found just a little bit of offense …
The District 4-5A tournament semifinal game against Carlsbad came down to one quarter — the second, in which the Cavegirls outscored the Lady Wildcats 14-1. It was enough to give Carlsbad a 32-21 win.
The Cavegirls (22-5), seeded second in the four-team meet, advanced to Saturday’s championship game at Hobbs.
Clovis (12-16) held Carlsbad to just nine field goals in the game, but the Lady Cats were able to muster only six baskets themselves.
They led 5-2 at the quarter, but by halftime were down by 10. Cavegirls senior guard Baylee Molina capped it off with three free throws when Clovis was called for a foul behind the 3-point line as the half expired.
The second half was relatively even.
“We played our tails off on defense tonight, (except for) that one quarter that got away from us,” Lady Cats coach Jeff Reed said. “They’re so tough to score against. They get in that 2-3 zone and they’re so big in there.”
Six-foot senior Kaliyah Montoya finished with 13 points for the Cavegirls — including 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Senior guard Aydan Everett led the Lady Cats with 10, including a couple of 3-point baskets.
“We pretty much shut them down,” said Reed, whose team managed a split with Carlsbad during the district schedule. “The offense is what killed us, especially in the second quarter. We turned the ball over too much, and we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities.”