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Lady Cats improve to 15-3, turn back Lovington

Jan. 23—Leading just 20-18 at halftime, Clovis High girls coach Jeff Reed said he was confident his team would be all right.

The Lady Wildcats broke away in the final two stanzas to post a 53-37 win over Lovington on Saturday at Rock Staubus Gym, improving to 15-3 for the season with their fifth win in a row.

CHS wraps up pre-district play this week, having visited Roswell Goddard on Tuesday night before hosting Portales on Friday.

Reed said his squad, coming off a 1-point home win the night before over Organ Mountain, wasn't playing all that badly early in Saturday's tilt.

"I felt like we were doing the things we needed to do," Reed said. "I wasn't worried. We just needed to have a little more energy in the second half."

Senior post Kailyn Jefferson led Clovis with 15 points, while senior guard Zarai Lewis added 14 and freshman guard Gianna Cordova 11. Jefferson (13) and Cordova (7) combined for 20 of the team's 33 points after the intermission.

"Once we started building the lead, we put more pressure on Lovington (to have to score)," Reed said.

Clovis made four 3-point baskets and posted a 17-15 overall edge in field goals. The major difference came at the free throw line, where the Lady Cats converted 15-of-22 attempts while Lovington (12-6) went just 1-of-2.

Sophomore guard Malaiya Castro had three 3-pointers and 11 points for Lovington, but the Lady Cats limited senior guard Liz Buendia — who had 20 in Clovis' 67-55 win at Lovington on Jan. 9 — to just eight points this time.

Atrisco Heritage 87, Clovis 79 (boys, Saturday) — The Cats were also coming off a narrow home win on Friday night against Alamogordo, but they had to make the lengthy trip to Albuquerque and the Jaguars (14-4), ranked fourth in Class 5A by MaxPreps, pulled away down the stretch.

Junior guard Latavious Morris tallied 25 points for Atrisco Heritage — including 10 each in the third and fourth quarters — while senior guard Marquis Renfro added 18, junior guard Kadarius Sims 15 and junior forward Marcus Quezada 10.

Sims had 11 points in the final stanza as the Jaguars outscored the Cats 26-20.

"We were up three at the half, but we missed out on a lot of opportunities to extend the lead," CHS boys coach Josh Mattox said. "We had too many turnovers and made some crucial mistakes on defense."

Senior center Marvin Cox scored 27 points for the Cats — all coming in the first three quarters — while senior guard Keilyn Parker added 18. Both sides relied heavily on the 3-ball, with Atrisco Heritage converting 11 of them and Clovis nine.

Clovis now has a 10-day break before beginning District 4-5A action on Tuesday night at Carlsbad. Mattox hopes the time off from competition will be beneficial.

"I like what it looks like for us (heading into district play)," he said. "This break will be crucial for us to get some guys rested and healed."