The Clovis High Lady Wildcats had a fight on their hands Saturday night. In the end, they had just a little too much punch for rival Hobbs.
Senior forward Brittany Johnson scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and junior post Antiesha Brown added 13 points as Clovis pulled away late for a 51-38 victory in the finals of the District 4-5A girls tournament at Rock Staubus Gym.
The Lady Cats (23-4) beat Hobbs for the third time in February, extending their winning streak to 14 games. CHS is looking at a possible No. 3 seed and a first-round Class 5A state game at home on Friday.
Hobbs (16-12), meantime, is likely to travel in the opening round. Lady Eagles coach Johnny Casaus said he thinks his team could be seeded from 10th to 12th.
The Lady Cats held Hobbs scoreless for more than four minutes to end the half, rallying from three points down for a 20-17 lead. They never relinquished it after that, but didn’t begin to open much daylight until a 6-0 run, including two baskets from sophomore Ashlee Pierson, made it 33-25 late in the third stanza.
The Lady Eagles were within 41-36 with under four minutes left, but Johnson contributed seven points to a game-ending 10-2 run.
“We knew they weren’t going to back down on us,” Johnson said. “We knew after they won Thursday night in Carlsbad that they were going to come to our house with some momentum.”
The problem for the Lady Eagles was shooting — 14-of-45 from the field, including 2-of-12 from 3-point range, and just 8-of-24 from the free throw line.
“We missed a lot of chippies under the basket,” Casaus said. “We let it snowball on us. But Clovis is well-coached; Jeff (Reed) has done a great job with them, and his kids know how to win.”
Brown, held to two points on 1-of-5 shooting in the first half, scored 11 points in the final two periods while Pierson had all but one of her eight tallies after halftime.
“I felt like we played hard,” Reed said. “We took it at the end like we’ve been doing all the time this year.
“We’ve got to do some little things better, but you’re always going to make mistakes. You just have to play through them.”
Seniors Sooky Garcia and Kaitlin Gray led the Lady Eagles with nine points each. Casaus had no complaints about his team’s effort.
“I thought we played great defense for the most part,” he said. “I’m proud of my kids. This is the best bunch of kids I’ve ever had as far as their work ethic.”
Reed is looking forward to the stretch run.
“This is just a great bunch of girls to work with,” he said. “Now we’re going to get refocused on Monday and get ready for whoever we play.”