With an opening-round game against Valley, a team they had played well against during the summer, first-year Clovis High girls coach Jeff Reed thought the Lady Wildcats would have a good chance to begin a run for a fifth Plateau Holiday Classic championship in six years.
While Reed still believes his team can do it, he said the Albuquerque-based Vikings (4-1) should give his squad a test in Monday’s 6 p.m. quarterfinal matchup at Rock Staubus Gym.
“It’s hard to go off the summertime, but we beat them pretty good over the summer,” Reed said. “But they have a couple of pretty good players.”
Clovis (5-3) finished fourth in last year’s event, ending a four-year championship run. Monday’s game will serve as the Lady Cats’ home opener.
“We’re road-weary,” said Reed, whose team hasn’t played since winning Dec. 19 at Class 4A power Moriarty 53-47. “It’s nice to be able to play at home.”
Reed said he’s relatively happy with how his team has played to this point.
“I figured we’d be somewhere around 5-3 or 6-2,” he said. “At least the (teams) we’ve lost to was good competition, and beating Moriarty the other night was a good feeling.”
Texico and Portales, smaller schools which enjoy testing themselves in events like this, are also in the eight-team field. The Lady Wolverines (6-2), who bring a six-game winning streak into the event after winning tournaments in Texico and Farwell earlier this month, face Gadsden (3-6) in a 10 a.m. tipoff Monday and are bracketed with Clovis and Valley.
Portales (3-4), idle since a 49-35 win Dec. 19 over Muleshoe, takes on Rio Grande (5-4) at 4 p.m. in the north gym. The Lady Rams and Lady Ravens are bracketed with Abilene Cooper (3-12) and Alamogordo (7-2), who face off at 2:45 p.m.
“Our side of the bracket looks pretty tough,” Portales coach Clay Stout said. “We’ll try to use this (tournament) to get back into shape.”
Portales, seventh in last year’s event, has played all 5A schools to this point except Class 4A Aztec and Muleshoe, a Class 2A school in Texas.
“It always help going into the holidays with a win,” Stout said. “Last year we didn’t play very well in Clovis, so we’re hoping to do better.”
First-year Texico coach Ryan Autrey acknowledged he doesn’t know a lot about Gadsden. The Lady Panthers were blown out by Clovis 63-27 in last year’s first round, but are coming off a three-point loss to Carlsbad.
“We’ve had some time to be in the gym and get some practices in,” Autrey said. “Now we just want to improve where we need to.”
He said the possibility of a Clovis-Texico semifinal is intriguing.
“That would be fun,” he said. “It would be a great chance to see where we’re at.”
SW Dairy Farmers Classic
At Rock Staubus Gym
Amarillo Tascosa vs. St. Michael’s, 11:35 a.m.
Los Lunas vs. Bowie, Texas, 1:10 p.m.
Abilene Cooper vs. Valley, 4:20 p.m.
Santa Fe High vs. Clovis, 7:30 p.m.
Plateau Holiday Classic
At Rock Staubus Gym
Texico vs. Gadsden, 10 a.m.
Abilene Cooper vs. Alamogordo, 2:45 p.m.
Rio Grande vs. Portales, 4 p.m.-x
Valley vs. Clovis, 6 p.m.
x-game in Gym 2.