The Clovis High girls are back in the throne room of their own holiday tournament.
Tournament MVP Ashlee Pierson combined 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists while all-tournament selections Paige Gardner and Kirsti Shough were also in double figures as the Lady Wildcats used a big third quarter to beat El Paso Coronado 58-47 in Thursday’s Plateau Wireless Classic title game at Rock Staubus Gym.
Gardner finished with 16 points — all in the first three quarters — and six rebounds while Shough added 12 points and five boards for the Lady Cats (8-4).
Senior post Michelle Montes scored 13 points, senior forward Brianna Garcia added 12 and senior guard Sarah Osborn chipped in 11 for the Lady T-Birds (17-3), who went just seven deep and may have been worn down by Clovis in the second half.
Montes and Garcia also made the all-tournament squad.
“It was a good win for us against a very good team,” Clovis coach Jeff Reed said. “I think that was the (best) team we’ve beaten this year.
“We definitely want to improve on this. Paige and Kirsti and Ashlee really stepped up; I thought Paige was a big difference-maker tonight.”
Clovis got off to a slow start, falling behind three times by seven points, the last at 19-12 early in the second quarter. Senior guard Khiara Loera and Pierson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, though, to get the Lady Cats back in it and the teams were tied 27-27 at halftime.
After a free throw by Coronado’s Jallycia Pierson, Clovis went on a 17-1 run highlighted by seven points from Gardner in a span of about 30 seconds — a 3-point play and two layups off pressure-induced turnovers — for a 44-29 lead late in the third.
Coronado never got closer 11 points after that. Pierson had eight of her points in the final stanza to keep the Lady Cats comfortable.
“We wanted to win the tournament to redeem ourselves (after finishing third in 2009),” Pierson said. “Our defense can bring our offense along. If we’re doing good on defense, our offense comes easier.”
The Lady Cats shot 54 percent for the game (21-of-37), including 12-of-16 in the second half. They had only seven turnovers in the contest.
Clovis, which has a home-heavy schedule in January, returns to action on Tuesday with a 5:30 p.m. clash against Amarillo High at The Rock.