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Lady Cats rally for win

PORTALES – If Clovis High's girls were looking for a test heading into the start of District 4-5A play this week, they certainly got one on Friday night.

Portales High hung with the Lady Wildcats for three quarters before Clovis erupted for a 20-0 run that carried into the final minute of the game for a 42-27 victory at the Ram Athletic Center.

CHS (16-3) extended its winning streak to 12 games, but had to work hard to do it. The Lady Cats struggled to score most of the way against a diamond-and-1 defense which mainly featured junior guard Brenna Jewell on CHS scoring leader Zarai Lewi, holding her to just one field goal and six points.

Senior guard Martha De La Rosa, who posted a personal-best 10 points in a win over Roswell Goddard on Tuesday, topped it in this one with 14 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer on the first possession of the final quarter.

"I just think we realized we needed to put more shots in," De La Rosa said. "We had more of a killer instinct in the fourth quarter.

"Portales gave us a look at some of what you'll face (in district play) with Hobbs, Carlsbad and Roswell (High). It was good for us to get that."

Junior post Kailyn Jefferson finished with 13 points for the Lady Cats. Sophomore guard Angel Ornelas paced the Lady Rams (9-9) with 11 points, but no one else had more than five.

"Portales had a good game plan coming in with that diamond-and-1 on Z (Lewis)," Lady Cats coach Jeff Reed said. "I knew coming in that Portales was going to play us tough."

Things went relatively well for the Lady Rams until the final quarter, but fouls and fatigue did them in. PHS coach Wade Fraze, who picked up a technical foul midway through the frame, wasn't pleased with what transpired.

"I have no comment on the fourth quarter, but I'm proud of my kids," Fraze said. "Foul trouble didn't help us. The girls played good defense. They fought to the end, and I couldn't ask any more from them."

Sophomore Evannie Fulfer hit a free throw and added a field goal for the first points of the game, but the Lady Cats scored the next seven points and didn't trail again until Ornelas and junior guard Audrey Paden recovered block shots and put them in about 30 seconds apart to give the Lady Rams a 24-22 advantage heading into the final eight minutes. But PHS didn't score again until junior Tya Rippee hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to close the scoring.

Clovis lost junior forward Ali Thomas to a concussion after scramble for the ball midway through the third frame. Reed said he expects her to be out 2-3 weeks.

Clovis faces road games against Carlsbad on Tuesday and Hobbs on Friday to start its district slate. Meantime, PHS – which played at Roswell High on Saturday – opens District 4-4A play on Friday against Roswell Goddard at the RAC.

In Tuesday action:

Clovis 54, Goddard 29 – The Lady Cats found themselves down by a point at halftime, but held Goddard to just nine points over the final two stanzas at Rock Staubus Gym.

"We had tons of opportunities (to score)," Reed said of the first half. "But the ball just wasn't going in for us."

It didn't take long for Clovis to take control, outscoring the Lady Rockets (12-7) by a 22-5 count in the third frame.

"Finally in the second half we started making some of the stuff we were missing earlier," Reed said.

Lewis led three Lady Cats in double digits with 17 points, followed by De La Rosa and Jefferson with 10 apiece. Senior guard Ericca Cannon tallied 11 points for Goddard.

Portales 46, Texico 24 – At Texico, the Lady Rams jumped out to a 12-2 lead at the quarter and never looked back.

Fraze, though, said he was impressed with the Lady Wolverines (6-12).

"They play hard," he said. "They play great defense and rebound the ball. They do a lot of things well."

Three players reached double figures for Portales – junior guard Audrey Paden and sophomore guard Myleigh Banda with 12 each, and Jewell with 11.

For Texico, senior guard Catelyn Breshears finished with 11 points.

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