SANTA FE — Things couldn’t have started off any worse for Clovis High’s boys Thursday.
The Wildcats found themselves down 21-2 to Volcano Vista late in the first quarter of their Capital City Invitational quarterfinal matchup.
But they steadily chipped away, taking the lead by the third quarter. After the Hawks’ Johnny Cordova hit a game-tying 3-pointer as time expired in regulation, the Cats controlled the overtime for a 74-69 victory.
Clovis (3-0) takes on Valley, a 65-63 winner Thursday over Capital, in a 4:30 p.m. semifinal today.
Senior guard Lathan Lieb scored 32 points, senior forward Craig Cook added 18 and sophomore guard D.J. Blackmon pitched in 12 for the Cats. Lieb (16-of-19) and and Cook (11-of-12) combined to go 27-of-31 from the free throw line.
“We got off to a real slow start,” Cats coach J.D. Isler said. “It just seemed like we were real uptight. But we got back in the game in the second quarter.”
Clovis pulled even midway through the third quarter, but the Albuquerque-based Hawks (3-2) opened a four-point lead with four minutes to go in regulation.
“Then Lathan got to the basket a couple of times; one of them was a 3-point play,” Isler said. “That got us the lead.”
Up 60-57 in the final seconds, Cordova was able to get off his tying 3-pointer as time expired — his only field goal of the contest.
In the overtime, Blackmon scored two baskets, Cook went 4-for-4 from the line and Lieb was 6-of-8.
“Obviously, we want to get the ball in those two guys’ hands late in the game,” Isler said, referring to Cook and Lieb. “We’re glad to beat a quality team. It was a good game for us in a lot of ways.”
Senior Mario Molina had four 3-pointers and 28 points for Volcano Vista, while sophomore Sam Haywood followed with 19.