Lady Cats build toward district

Jan. 13—Slowly but surely, Clovis High's girls are working their way toward District 4-5A competition and a shot at the postseason.

Friday night, the Lady Wildcats boosted their record to 12-3 with a workmanlike 60-39 victory over Espanola Valley at Rock Staubus Gym.

Five games remain before district play begins on Jan. 30 against Carlsbad at The Rock. CHS is in the beginning of a stretch of eight of 10 games at home.

This week, Clovis hosts West Las Vegas on Tuesday, Organ Mountain on Friday and Lovington on Saturday.

Senior guard and scoring leader Zarai Lewis had a bit off an off-night in that department with eight points, but senior post Kailyn Jefferson picked up the slack with a season-high 21 points while sophomore guard Brynn Petner added a personal-best 13 points off the bench.

While overmatched, the Lady Sundevils (8-8) tried to get after it as best they could. They did most of their damage with seven 3-pointers, including five in the final period.

"They played hard and busted some 3s," CHS girls coach Jeff Reed said. "We've got to do a better job on defense, but I was trying to get some kids some playing time."

Petner, who came in averaging three ppg with a high of six, was able to beat Espanola Valley downcourt in transition several times.

"I was kind of like a surprise today," she said of her scoring burst.

The Lady Cats tallied the game's first three points and never looked back. A 9-0 run made it 12-2 and they led 19-7 at the quarter.

The lead reached 30 before the Class 4A Sundevils hit four 3-pointers in the final four minutes.

"Our strategy was to press, and we put it on them early," Reed said. "I felt like we could've pulled away more than we did."

Petner said the team appears to be coming together reasonably well as district approaches.

"I think we're ready for it," she said. "As long as we keep working hard, I think we'll do all right."

No one reached double digits for Espanola Valley, which got a team-high nine points from junior guard Alicia Chavez.

Clovis 67, Lovington 55 (Tuesday) — Cruising along with a 10-point lead, the Lady Cats watched Lovington pull even with a 10-0 run to start the third quarter. They followed that, however, with a 17-0 blitz of their own to take command and never let the match get closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Lewis poured in 31 points, including two 3-pointers and 11-for-13 from the foul line, while Jefferson added 14. Freshman guard Gianna Cordova sparked a 7-0 second-quarter run with a 2-point basket, an assist to Lewis and a 3-pointer to push the Lady Cats in front 29-19.

Senior guard Liz Buendia scored 20 points for Lovington (11-4), while sophomore guards Malaiya Castro and Ashelynn Borunda added 10 apiece.

"I told the girls that this was the best Lovington team I've seen in a while," Reed said. "Still, I think there were a lot of things we could've done better."

Lovington's only losses coming in were by two points to Spearman, Texas; by one point at West Mesa, and in overtime at Albuquerque Academy.