Clovis High’s girls found themselves in an early hole they just couldn’t dig out of Tuesday night.
Amarillo High took control by holding the Lady Wildcats to three points — a 3-point basket by junior guard Kirsti Shough — over the final seven minutes of the second quarter en route to a 48-41 victory at Rock Staubus Gym.
The Lady Sandies (15-8) had occasional turnover problems against Clovis’ pressure defense, but shot an efficient 55 percent from the field (21-of-38) while holding the Lady Cats (8-5) to 32 percent.
“The second quarter killed us,” Clovis coach Jeff Reed said. “We didn’t play very good defense in that quarter.”
The Lady Cats struggled on both ends of the court, in truth. After a basket by Paige Gardner put Clovis in front 14-13 early in the period, Amarillo High ran off the next 10 points to take the lead for good.
Clovis tried to apply pressure early, but the Lady Sandies got behind the Lady Wildcats several times for easy baskets.
Junior Joy Gossett made it 33-17 with the first basket of the second half before the Lady Cats mounted a rally. Senior Ashlee Pierson erupted for 11 points in the period, capped with a 3-pointer and a driving layup to cut it to 40-35 after three quarters.
Clovis went 8-of-10 from the field in that period while the Lady Sandies were 4-for-13.
That’s where the comeback stopped, though. Clovis shot 1-of-14 in the final stanza — a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Niki Cordova with 1:20 left — and even though the Lady Sandies struggled with nine turnovers in the period, they had enough to hold on.
“I felt like we had some opportunities on the backside of their press, and we did early,” Amarillo High coach Jeff Williams said. “The second half, they didn’t press us.
“We weren’t making shots, and they (Lady Cats) did a much better job protecting the basket. We were having to settle for more perimeter shots.”
Junior post Krista Strange led the Lady Sandies with 16 points, including 12 in the first half, while Gossett added 13.
“Our goal is to try to get Krista the basketball as often as we can,” Williams said. “They did a nice job of taking her away in the second half.”
Pierson finished with 21 points for the Lady Cats while Shough added 10. Reed, who found out Tuesday he’d lost starting senior guard Khaira Loera for the season to academic ineligibility, played seven players in the contest.
“I’m proud the girls came back and made it a game, but our depth hurts us,” Reed said. “The biggest thing we’ve got to do now is develop some depth.”