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Lady Cats hang on, top Organ Mountain

Jan. 20—Freshman guard Gianna Cordova's 3-point basket with 4 1/2 minutes left gave Clovis High's girls their largest lead of the night at five points.

Little did anyone know that would be the Lady Wildcats' last tallies of the game ... and just enough for them to hang on.

A 4-point play by Organ Mountain junior guard Aliyah Martinez with 3:05 to go made it a 1-point game, but when her 12-footer from the right of the lane clanged off the rim as time expired the Lady Cats had escaped with a 38-37 victory at Rock Staubus Gym.

"I'm proud of us for being able to finish," Lady Cats senior guard Zarai Lewis, who scored 19 points. "Every game there's something you can do better, but we didn't get down on ourselves."

Still, there's no doubt CHS (14-3), ranked fifth in Class 5A by MaxPreps, was fortunate to come out on the long end of the score — albeit barely — in this one.

"They did (outplay us)," CHS girls coach Jeff Reed said. "They outhustled us for rebounds and loose balls. They came in from five hours away, but we were the ones who looked sluggish and tired."

Organ Mountain (9-5), No. 10 in 5A, controlled most of the first half, but a 3-pointer by senior guard Amanda De La Rosa with 3:22 left cut the Lady Knights' lead to 20-17. Again, neither team scored the rest of the half.

Senior guard/forward Illiana Silva hit two 3-pointers early in the third frame for the Las Cruces-based Lady Knights. Organ Mountain led by nine at one point and it was 32-24 entering the final stanza.

Pressure defense helped the Lady Cats go on an 8-0 run over two minutes, capped by Cordova's 3. It proved to be just enough.

"This team has to be able to handle the physical play of the top teams in 5A basketball," CHS girls coach Jeff Reed said. "If we can get to that point, we have a chance to do some things this year."

Organ Mountain's size bothered the Lady Cats at times, and the Lady Knights seemed quicker to loose balls most of the way.

"These kinds of games give you a better idea of what to expect when you play better teams," Lewis said. "I think my teammates depend on me to lead them. We have a pretty young team, and I feel like if they see I have confidence, it helps give them confidence."

Senior post Caitlin Turnbow was the Lady Knights' lone double-figure scorer with 10 before fouling out in the final minute.

The Lady Cats were slated to host Lovington on Saturday. Their next outing is on Tuesday night at Roswell Goddard.

Clovis 65, West Las Vegas 24 (Tuesday) — The Lady Cats had little trouble pushing past the Lady Dons at The Rock, leading 20-5 after one and outscoring West Las Vegas 39-10 over the final two segments.

Reed was unhappy with his team's early play, especially in the second quarter when the Lady Cats were outscored 9-6.

"At halftime, they got their butts chewed out," he said. "After that, they responded. I was glad we were able to come out in the third quarter and get after it and put them away."

Nine players scored for Clovis, led by Lewis with 19 points and senior post Kailyn Jefferson with 13. They combined for 11 tallies during a 23-4 charge in the third frame.

Junior guard Alexis Pacheco paced the Class 3A Lady Dons (8-5) with two 3-pointers and 12 points.