Rarely one to be encouraged by a loss, Clovis High girls coach Jeff Reed felt pretty good about the Lady Wildcats’ performance this week at Canyon.
He’s hoping it carries over to the six-team Plateau Wireless Holiday Classic, which begins Tuesday at Rock Staubus Gym.
Facing the unbeaten, second-ranked team in Texas’ Class 4A on Tuesday, the Lady Cats stayed close well into the third quarter before dropping a 57-40 decision to the Lady Eagles (15-0).
“I told the girls (before the game), ‘We’re not going to come in here and lay down,’” Reed said. “One thing (longtime Canyon) coach (Joe) Lombard said was, ‘It’s always though playing you guys.’”
Everyone in the tournament plays one game each on Tuesday and Wednesday, at which point fifth-place, third-place and championship matchups will be determined for Thursday.
The Lady Cats (5-4) finished third in last year’s eight-team meet, beating Texico 60-41 in the final round.
“We’ve seen a lot of good teams,” said junior guard Kirsti Shough, who had three 3-pointers for nine points against Canyon. “With all the different teams, it’s helping us to get better.”
Meantime, Texico (7-0) is anxious to test itself against larger schools, as usual. The Lady Wolverines, who have won three of the last four Class 2A state titles, face El Paso Coronado on Tuesday and Abilene Cooper on Wednesday.
“At this point in the year, we’re worried more about us than anybody we’re playing,” Texico coach Keith Durham said. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to play tough people. Usually, when you play tough people you find out a lot about yourselves.”
Reed said he knows little about his team’s opponents, winless Cooper (0-16) on Tuesday and Manzano on Wednesday. The Monarchs were 2-3 heading into a game last week against Rio Grande.
Clovis beat Manzano in the finals of the Mel Otero Invite at Rio Rancho a year ago.
“They weren’t bad last year,” Reed said. “I think if we can come in to this thing and bring it, we can get to the championship game.
“It’s been a tough schedule (to this point). We haven’t had an easy game, except maybe against Las Cruces (a 70-45 win in the first round of this year’s Otero Invite).”
Shough said it would be a challenge facing Texico, if that’s the way it plays out.
“They’re a good team,” she said. “They’ve played together for a long time.”
Durham said he just wants to see his team continue to improve.
“I’m glad we’re not headed to Albuquerque (for the state meet) tonight,” he quipped, “but I think our girls understand you have to play hard every single night. That’s why I like playing in this tournament.”