Their records may not indicate it, but Elida coach Darrell Chenault expected his team to have its work cut out Monday night.
A seven-point possession in the first quarter gave the Tigers some breathing room and they held on down the stretch to beat Clovis Christian 63-52 at the CCS gym.
In the girls game, CCS upset Elida, rallying late in regulation to force overtime and then pulling out a 55-53 win.
Junior forward Kody Paiz scored 16 of his 20 points in the first quarter for Elida’s boys, including all seven on the game-changing trip downcourt — a 3-point play, two free throws on a CCS technical and another basket, turning a 13-12 deficit into a 19-13 lead.
“Ultimately, that was the difference-maker,” CCS boys coach Randy McBroom said. “You can’t make a mistake like that against a good team.”
The Eagles (1-9) never caught up, but kept the game close until the Tigers (9-2) finished on a 9-2 run over the final 2 1/2 minutes.
McBroom said he had his full roster for only the second time this season — the other was in a two-point loss earlier at Elida.
“As long as we keep going in an ‘up’ direction, we could be a dangerous team down the road,” McBroom said.
Senior guard Ryan Best added 13 points and senior forward Cade Cathey scored 12 for Elida, both doing most of their damage in the second half.
“Everything kind of went our way at the start,” Paiz said. “We played a lot better this time (than in the earlier meeting). We’re starting to play better as a team.”
Senior Ross Miller led CCS with 15 points, while senior Nick Cody added 13.
“That’s a very good team,” Chenault said of the Eagles. “We’ve seen them twice and it’s been two very tough ballgames.”
Chenault said the Tigers rely on a balanced attack, with different people leading the scoring attack.
“We have five ballplayers who, I believe, any of them can score,” he said. “It was kind of Kody’s first half, and then other guys stepped up in the second half.”
CCS girls 55, Elida 53 — Only four players scored for the Lady Eagles (5-3), but all reached double figures, led by junior guard Jocelyn Swann with 19 points. Swann hit two free throws with 18 seconds left in OT for a three-point lead.
CCS went 2-2 in a four-game stretch against District 3-1A teams, beating Dora and Elida at home while losing to Floyd on Saturday and at Fort Sumner earlier last week.
“Dora and Elida are better than Floyd, not to take anything away from Floyd,” CCS coach Max Kralicek said. “We seem to play better against the better teams.”
Sophomore guard Reavis Best led the Lady Tigers (8-3) with 18 points, but coach Dan Howard bemoaned his team’s free throw problems. Elida went 9-of-24 from the line while the Lady Eagles were 17-of-24.
“We just shot ourselves in the foot tonight,” Howard said. “We couldn’t make our free throws and we got into foul trouble.”