GALLUP — The Clovis High girls basketball team was stopped in its tracks Friday night it its bid to return to the finals of the Gallup tournament.
Kirtland Central, one of the best teams in Class 4A, dominated the second and fourth quarters and handed the Lady Wildcats a 57-34 loss in the tournament semifinals.
Clovis (1-2) will face Winslow, Ariz., at 6 p.m. today for third place while Kirtland Central takes on host Gallup in the 7:30 p.m. championship game.
Gallup defeated the Lady Cats 70-64 in last year’s title matchup.
The Lady Broncos broke away from a 12-12 tie after one period by outscoring CHS 21-6 in the second stanza. Down 37-18 early in the third quarter, the Lady Cats put together a 7-0 run that featured a 3-pointer and a 2-pointer by senior Ashlee Pierson. They trailed 39-29 after three, but managed only five points in the final period as Kirtland Central pulled away.
“They pressured the dog out of us pretty much the whole game,” CHS coach Jeff Reed said. “They’re a good team — I’m not going to take anything away from them — but we helped them out tonight.
“Every time we ran our press-breaker and did it right, we’d get good looks at the basket. But we had a hard time finishing.”
Nine players scored for the Lady Broncos, led by 15 points from sernio Taradena Mitchell. Kirtland Central had four 3-pointers in the game and went 11-for-11 from the free throw line to 7-of-16 for Clovis.
Pierson finished with 11 points to lead the Lady Cats.