HOBBS — Starters Antiesha Brown and Jadee Isler got in early foul trouble and spent a lot of time on the bench, but the Clovis High girls figured out a way to win anyway.
With Brown scoring six points and Isler held scoreless in limited time, the Lady Wildcats got a season-best 16 points from senior guard Leia Willis and held off Hobbs 53-50 Friday night to finish unbeaten in District 4-5A regular-season play.
The Lady Cats (22-4, 4-0), who won their 13th game in a row and 18th in the last 19, were already assured of hosting next Saturday’s 7 p.m. district tournament championship game. But the loss means Hobbs (15-11,1-3) will have to travel to Carlsbad (13-13, 1-3) for Thursday’s semifinal game.
“It was a big win for us,” CHS coach Jeff Reed said. “If she stays out of foul trouble, and has her regular game I think we could’ve won by more points, but it was good to win without Antiesha having a big game.”
Senior guard Brittany Johnson added 12 points for Clovis, which led by nine in the second quarter and stayed comfortably ahead until the Lady Eagles made a push late.
Senior Kaitlin Gray scored 11 of her game-high 21 points in the final period for Hobbs.
Hobbs sent Johnson to the line with four seconds left. She missed both shots, but sophomore Ashlee Pierson scrambled in for the rebound and the Lady Cats were able to run out the clock.
Willis scored seven of her points in the final period, including a 3-pointer, while Johnson added five.
“She really stepped up tonight and took over for us in a lot of situations,” Reed said of Willis, who went 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
Brown picked up her third foul early in the second quarter and didn’t return until the final stanza. Isler got two quick fouls and sat out the rest of the half, then came out shortly after play resumed for the rest of the third quarter after drawing a third foul.
Clovis built a 23-14 lead late in the second quarter. After the Lady Eagles closed to five points, junior Tiffany Nichols scored at the buzzer to send Clovis into halftime with a 25-18 lead.
Reed acknowledged he was expecting a lower-scoring game.
“I figured we’d hold them a little better that that,” he said. “Our defense was a little sluggish, but they called a lot of close fouls on us.”
Gray was almost able to bring her team back down the stretch.
“Nobody would stop No. 44,” Reed said of Gray. “She had a huge fourth quarter.”