ALBUQUERQUE — That run the Clovis High’s boys usually count on didn’t come Thursday.
Well, it did briefly, but not for long enough.
Senior post Michael Holyfield and senior forward Erik Bouma combined for 50 points as third-seeded Manzano outlasted the Wildcats 64-55 Friday at The Pit in a Class 5A boys semifinal.
The 6-foot-10 Holyfield had 27 points and was credited with 23 rebounds. He also had a handful of blocked shots — no stats were available in that category — and changed a number of other Cats attempts.
Second-seeded Clovis (26-3), which struggled to 29 percent (20-of-70) shooting from the floor, got 16 points and eight rebounds from senior Craig Cook, 16 points from senior Lathan Lieb and 11 from sophomore guard John Dawson.
Manzano (19-8) will face Thursday’s late game winner between Onate and Cleveland in Saturday’s championship game.
Holyfield struggled in Wednesday’s quarterfinal win over Las Cruces High, but was all over the basket area against the Cats. Meantime, Bouma provided key baskets.
“Yesterday, Mike didn’t have his best game,” Manzano coach Travis Julian said. “But after coaching him for four years, I thought he’d bounce back.
“Erik is probably the most humble player I’ve ever coached. He doesn’t seek credit for what he does, he just does what we need him to do.”
Holyfield certainly had an impact on the Cats, although Clovis coach J.D. Isler said his team missed some shots it normally makes.
“I wasn’t really trying to block shots,” Holyfield said. “I was trying to contest shots.”
The Cats trailed from the middle of the first quarter until putting together a spurt that included two 3-pointers by Dawson in the final two minutes of the third quarter, cutting a 10-point deficit to 43-42.
Dawson then scored on a drive to put the Cats in front early in the fourth, and Cook gave the Cats another one-point lead on the next possession.
But Clovis, which went 10-of-11 from the free throw line through three quarters, missed five of its eight attempts in the final period while shooting 5-of-18 from the floor.
“We knew it was going to be a tough matchup for us,” Isler said. “Our intent was to get (Holyfield) into a transition game.
“I don’t think the pace of the game was that bad for us. We just weren’t able to get on a run like we usually do.”
Holyfield and Bouma combined for 16 of Manzano’s 21 points in the final period. The Monarchs went 26-of-35 from the foul line.
“We didn’t panic,” said Bouma, who shot 7-for-10 from the floor and 9-for-9 from the foul line. “We just do what we do.
“We work on free throws every day in practice. I just went up there with confidence.”
Lieb simply could never find his stroke, going 6-for-25 from the field and missing all seven of his 3-point attempts.
“We struggled trying to play from behind,” Lieb said. “We just could never get going. They’re big, and they’re a good team.”
The Monarchs played in Clovis’ holiday tournament and were struggling a bit at the time, but Isler said junior point guard Quavshaun Branch didn’t become eligible until the second semester. Branch had seven points, eight rebounds and three assists against the Cats, and is probably the Monarchs’ best ballhandler.
“I thought our pressure (defense) was good today,” Isler said, “but he makes it tougher to press them.”