Texico was game, but in the end Clovis High’s athleticism won out.
Led by a 35-point eruption from senior post Antiesha Brown, which matched her career high, the Lady Wildcats pulled away in the second half for a 60-41 victory Wednesday night in the third-place game of the Plateau Holiday Classic at Rock Staubus Gym.
Brown, who led a 10-for-10 Clovis showing at the free throw line by making all seven of her attempts, said her team was determined to bounce back from Tuesday’s 50-40 semifinal loss to La Cueva.
“Tonight, we just had so much to prove,” said Brown, whose other 35-point outing came in a four-point setback to host Gallup in the finals of a tournament in early December. “We just flat got after it. We played with a lot of heart tonight.”
After a 3-pointer by Texico’s Jaylyn Cooper pulled the Lady Wolverines to 23-22 with 2:23 left in the second period, Brown scored two baskets in a half-ending 8-2 run, then added Clovis’ first 16 points of the second half as the Lady Cats (8-2) eventually opened a 20-point lead.
“We finally got after it a little bit,” CHS coach Jeff Reed said. “We had a lot more energy tonight, and we were able to get some steals off our press.”
The Class 2A Lady Wolverines (7-5), playing their third Class 5A team in three nights, didn’t make it easy. Eventually, though, pressure defense began to wear them down.
“I told the girls, ‘Now you know how hard you’ve got to work every day,’” Texico coach Keith Durham said. “When you play teams like this, you don’t have a choice.
“When you play a team like Clovis, everybody’s got to contribute. I was proud of how we played. I didn’t see any glaring things that people weren’t doing.”
Texico took a 7-4 lead just over three minutes into the game on a short bank shot by senior Katlin Luscombe, and two free throws each from Shaylee Anderson and Shannon Van Matre in the final 1 1/2 minutes kept the Lady Wolverines even 13-13.
Brown converted a backcourt steal into a layup to put Clovis in front for good 17-15 about two minutes into the second period. Baskets by Brown, Katherine Cordova and Delaney Ware in the final 30 seconds of the third stanza — the latter two off turnovers — pushed the margin to 51-36.
“I give credit to Texico,” Reed said. “Coach Durham does a good job with them. I think our athleticism finally wore them out at the end.”
Junior Ashlee Pierson added 14 points for Clovis.
Jaylyn Cooper’s 13 points led the Lady Wolverines while her twin sister, Jordyn, added nine.
Plateau Holiday Classic
Shiprock 59, Alamogordo 15
Portales 34, Cooper 27
Clovis 61, Texico 40
La Cueva 67, Cibola 47