RIO RANCHO — Freshman point guard Courtney Latham scored on a six-foot shot as time expired Saturday night, lifting Rio Rancho Cleveland to a 51-49 victory over the Clovis Lady Wildcats.
Latham’s basket ended a seesaw matchup in which the Lady Cats (12-4) had tied the score on a basket by senior post Antiesha Brown with nine seconds left.
Sarah Hattis, the Storm’s 6-foot-3 sophomore center, finished with 21 points while Latham had four 3-pointers and 18 points. Brown and senior guard Amanda Romero led Clovis with 16 points apiece.
Romero, who left Friday’s win at Alamogordo with a neck injury, posted her season scoring high in the setback and also had four 3-pointers.
“The big girl (Hattis) is really good,” said Lady Cats coach Jeff Reed, whose team beat Cleveland 48-38 in the Mel Otero Invitational at Rio Rancho in Decemer. “They’re going to be a heck of a team next year.”
After a tight first quarter, which ended with the Storm (11-6) holding a 17-16 lead, the Lady Cats went cold in the second quarter, scoring only three points and falling behind 30-19 at the half.
“The second quarter, we just couldn’t put the ball in the hole,” Reed said. “We were settling for a lot of outside shots.”
Clovis became more aggressive when play resumed, he said. The Lady Cats got three 3-pointers from Romero and six points from junior Ashley Pierson in outscoring the Storm 19-6 in the period and taking a two-point lead.
Each team built a bit of a lead in the final period — Cleveland was up by five at one point, Clovis by four — before things went to the finish.
“We had plenty of chances,” Reed said. “We dug ourselves a hole and had to dig ourselves out. To (Cleveland’s) credit, they played a heck of a game.”
The Lady Cats return to action on Tuesday with a 7 p.m. game at Portales.