The Clovis High girls nearly escaped a double-figure deficit a week ago, losing to District 4-5A rival Hobbs by a point.
Finding themselves in the same situation on Friday against Roswell High, the Lady Wildcats couldn’t mount a comeback.
Senior post Shanice Steenholdt scored 18 points and the Lady Coyotes, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, posted a 49-39 victory at Rock Staubus Gym.
Roswell High (20-3) built an 18-point lead with three minutes left before the Lady Cats (16-7) scored the final eight points.
Steenholdt, a 6-footer, had her way with the Lady Cats down low, and got CHS posts Ashlee Pierson and Paige Gardner into some early foul trouble.
“She wasn’t in foul trouble, so she was able to be more aggressive,” Roswell coach Joe Carpenter said. “You could tell she was being aggressive and looking to score.”
Senior guard Marika Trujillo added 11 points, including a 3-pointer at the start of the third quarter that gave the Lady Coyotes a 13-point lead.
Roswell High committed 25 turnovers, struggling at times with Clovis’ pressure, but shot 56 percent for the game on 20-of-36. Meantime, the Lady Coyotes held CHS to 22 percent on 10-of-46, including 2-of-15 from 3-point range.
“It was about a carbon copy of the (Hobbs) game,” Lady Cats coach Jeff Reed said. “I told the girls at halftime, ‘We want to make them do what we want them to do, but they’re doing that to us.’”
Gardner finished with team highs of 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists for the Lady Cats. Junior Kirsti Shough added 10 points while Pierson, the team’s leading scorer, was held to nine.
“Until we can handle pressure (defense) and make shots, we’re not going to win a lot of games,” said Reed, whose team plays a District 4-5A game tonight at Carlsbad. “(Roswell High is) a good team; I’m not going to take anything away from them. They’ve been No. 1 in 4A all year for a reason.”
Roswell High led 12-9 at the end of one quarter, but Steenholdt got inside for two easy baskets at the start of the second period, then scored two more baskets to extend the lead to 10 late in the half.
Carpenter said his team, coming off a surprising District 4-4A loss at Artesia on Tuesday, was anxious to get back on track.
“We needed to get back on the court,” Carpenter said. “We didn’t deserve to win (Tuesday night), and Artesia did.”
In his 10th year at the school, Carpenter said his team has reached the 4A state semifinals seven times in the last eight years. The only time the Lady Coyotes made the finals was in 2009, when they lost to St. Pius.