Clovis High girls coach Jeff Reed knew his team had Rio Rancho overmatched Friday night, so he wanted his squad to focus on its own play.
The contest was never in doubt. Leading 2-1 in the second minute, the Lady Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points and cruised to a 53-17 victory in the abbreviated Milk Cow Classic at Rock Staubus Gym.
Because Moriarty was snowed out of school on Friday and couldn’t make the trip, the Lady Cats (14-4) and Roswell High will each play only once this weekend. Instead of facing each other Saturday, the Lady Coyotes will return for a 7 p.m. contest on Thursday.
On Friday night, senior Antiesha Brown led four Clovis players in double figures with 15 points, while junior Ashlee Pierson added 11 and seniors Delaney Ware and Amanda Romero finished with 10 apiece. Senior guard Katharine Cordova, meantime, collected six assists.
Ware and Romero combined for five 3-pointers — each hitting two against Rio Rancho’s 2-3 zone in helping Clovis open a 21-1 lead at the end of the opening period.
“The 3s opened it up,” CHS coach Jeff Reed said. “That was the difference from the Portales game (a 30-28 win on Tuesday). We were able to make our shots and that let us set up our press.”
The Lady Cats were a bit timid against the zone at first, but once some shots started falling they got into a good flow.
“It was hard to attack their zone,” Romero said. “They were really packed in.”
“We’re going to have to do that from here on out,” added Romero, coming off a season-best 16-point outing in a 51-49 loss last weekend at Rio Rancho Cleveland. “They’re going to sag in on Antiesha and Ashlee. I think we stepped up in that area tonight.”
Rio Rancho (3-12), which lost significant talent when the new Cleveland school opened this year, didn’t make a field goal until senior Kelsey Hawkins got inside on a lob feed with less than three minutes left in the half.
“We knew Rio Rancho was struggling,” Reed said. “Our focus tonight was ourselves, and more about us on defense, on us handling the basketball, on us being in the right place on offense.
“In the first quarter, we played some real good fundamental defense in the halfcourt. Rio Rancho had a hard time getting into their offense. What we need to improve on is we got a little sloppy in stretches of the game.”
The Rams simply couldn’t handle Clovis pressure, which eased off significantly after Rio Rancho committed 11 turnovers in the opening period.