For the second straight weekend, the Clovis High girls didn’t have to break much of a sweat in the opener of back-to-back games.
The Lady Wildcats, who routed Alamogordo 81-42 a week ago in the first of back-to-back tilts, scored the first 16 points Friday night and cruised past outmanned Rio Rancho 57-24 in the Milk Cow Classic at Rock Staubus Gym.
Senior guard Khira Loera hit her first three shots from 3-point range, making it 11-0 after less than 3 1/2 minutes, and the rout was on.
Clovis (13-5), a winner in seven of its last eight outings — all but one at home — and ranked fifth in Class 5A, faces Class 3A top-ranked Santa Fe Indian (11-5) at 5:30 p.m. today. The Lady Braves lost to Class 4A No. 1 Roswell High 56-45 on Friday.
The Lady Coyotes (15-2) play Rio Rancho at 4 p.m.
CHS led 13-0 when coach Jeff Reed put his second five into the game late in the first quarter, and freshman Carrie Sharp added the first of her two 3-pointers to complete the run.
The Lady Rams (4-13), with a 10-player roster of four juniors, five sophomores and a freshman, finally broke through on a basket by Rajene Allen with less than 20 seconds left in the quarter.
“It’s nice whenever Khira goes in and knocks them down like that for us,” Reed said. “Those kind of shots can bust a game open.”
The 5-foot-4 Loera matched her season high with 14 points, shooting 4-of-8 from 3-point distance. Senior Ashlee Pierson scored 13 of her game-high 15 points in the second half for the Lady Cats, and shared rebound honors with junior Paige Gardner with five apiece.
Loera found herself open on either wing against the Lady Rams’ 3-2 zone.
“Coach said a lot of teams are going to play zone, and he wants us to be able to shoot it,” she said. “We’ve learned to come together as a team. I think everybody is stepping up.”
Rio Rancho played better after the first quarter, but couldn’t make up any ground as Reed played his second unit extensively. Freshman Deanna Lucero led the Lady Rams with eight points.
Reed said his team, coming off a 33-32 escape against Portales on Tuesday, could use another good test and figures they’ll get one from SFIS.
“Portales was a tough ballgame, but we need to see if we can step up to more challenges,” said Reed, who has been slowed the past couple of days by a touch of the flu. “We should be rested after tonight.”