Hobbs wants to wrap up the District 4-5A girls regular-season title tonight.
For Clovis High to win it, you could say the Lady Wildcats will have to take the scenic route.
CHS (18-7, 2-1 district) must win tonight’s matchup at Hobbs (18-7, 3-0), forcing a playoff for the title on Monday at a neutral site, then win that for the right to host the district tournament championship on Feb. 26.
“We’ve just got to play hard and get after them,” said CHS coach Jeff Reed, whose team lost a 45-44 decision to the Lady Eagles earlier this month at Rock Staubus Gym. “It’s a great challenge for us, and a great opportunity.”
Reed said the Lady Eagles’ aggressive pressure defense caught his team off-guard the first time.
“Now we have a better idea, and I think they’re (Lady Cats) ready for the challenge,” he said.
Junior guard Kirsti Shough said Tuesday’s solid 63-42 win over Carlsbad provided a boost for the Lady Cats, who had gone 1-2 prior to that in February.
“They’re (Lady Eagles) one of the better teams we’ve played, but we’re capable of beating them,” said Shough, who hit 4-of-7 from 3-point range for 12 points in Tuesday’s win. “We all just need to step up and contribute. We didn’t play our best against them here.”
Reed sees his team as the “underdog” tonight, but added the Lady Cats are confident they can win.
“The girls are in good spirits after the way they played against Carlsbad,” Reed said. “We just can’t get rattled by their pressure, or by playing in Hobbs.”
Clovis can build on a late rally in the first meeting, taking the lead briefly in the final 30 seconds after trailing 40-25 near the end of the third period.
“Even though we lost, it kind of boosted our confidence to come back,” Shough said. “But at Hobbs, it’ll be harder to come back, so one of our goals is not to get down like we did in the last game.”
CHS GIRLS CAPSULE
Clovis (18-7, 2-1)
at Hobbs (18-7, 3-0)
Radio: KCLV-FM 99.1
Last time out: The Lady Wildcats are coming off a 63-42 win over Carlsbad on Tuesday at Rock Staubus Gym. Hobbs hasn’t played since winning at Carlsbad 43-26 last Friday.
Last meeting: The Lady Eagles edged Clovis 45-44 at The Rock on Feb. 4.
Hobbs players to watch: Shalyn Payne, 5-11, Sr., F; Summer Patterson, 5-7, Sr., G-F.
Of note: The Lady Eagles, who’ve won nine in a row since a loss at Lubbock Monterey on Jan. 4, are No. 2 in Class 5A behind Eldorado. Clovis is fifth. … No one scored in double figures for Hobbs in its win at Clovis. … The Lady Eagles are 8-1 in games decided by six points or less.
— Compiled by Dave Wagner