On a night where the holiday rust was evident, the Clovis defense shone through.
The defense dominated when it needed to, and Clovis rode bursts of 13-2 and 15-2 to open the second and third quarters en route to a 75-47 win over Farmington on Tuesday night in the Southwest Dairy Farmers Classic.
Clovis (9-1) faces El Paso Cathedral 7:30 p.m. today in the semifinals. The Irish defeated Hereford 56-45.
Lathan Lieb scored 10 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter to keep the Wildcats afloat during a rough start, then the defense took over against the Class 4A Scorpions (4-6).
“We got chewed out after not coming out hard, so we had to come out and just play our game,” said sophomore D.J. Blackmon, who added 16 points. “We’re smaller than everybody, so we’ve got to play physical (defense).”
It worked, as Farmington managed just 33 percent shooting (16-of-49) on the night and never got into a rhythm.
“They came out and hit some shots, and we didn’t respond well,” Scorpions coach Robert Lopez said. “They played good defense most of the game, and we didn’t respond to that either.”
After jumping out to a 6-0 start two minutes into the game, Farmington was outscored 45-15 over the next 18 minutes. Lieb had a three-point play to end the 15-2 burst in the third quarter for a 45-21 Clovis advantage.
“I’m at a loss,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said about the slow start. “Obviously, the layoff hurts you a little bit. We only had one day to work on things (after Christmas). I think we’ll get off to a better start tomorrow.
“I did notice every game had a sluggish start.”
Sophomore Matt Huffhines scored 13 points to lead the Scorpions. Senior Omar Villa added 12 and freshman point guard Fontaine Saltes had eight.
“We’re young, but every game, we’re improving,” Lopez said. “Hopefully, this is a game we can grow with.”
The Scorpions face Hereford in a 1:10 p.m. consolation bracket game.
Isler wasn’t happy with the rebounding against a young and small Scorpion team, but liked the defensive effort that forced 20 turnovers.
“We watched film on ourselves,” Isler said. “We haven’t been good defending away from the ball. We really made an effort to correct that.”