GALLUP — Senior Ashlee Pierson played her way onto the Gallup tournament’s all-tourney team Saturday night. She had some help as the Clovis High Lady Wildcats claimed third place.
Pierson scored 18 points while junior post Paige Gardner and senior guard Kiara Loera were also in double figures as the Lady Cats defeated Winslow, Ariz. 67-47 behind a huge third-quarter surge.
Pierson was later named to the 10-player all-tournament team, but she and four others combined for at least four points apiece during a 26-8 third-quarter blitz that allowed the Lady Cats (2-2) to break away from a 27-27 halftime tie.
“I told (the players at halftime), ‘We can come out this third quarter and put them away,’ and we did,” Lady Cats coach Jeff Reed said. “It was nice to see us do something I wanted them to do.”
Loera, who finished with a career-best 12 points, scored seven of them in the third period while Gardner added six of her 15 points. Clovis also got five points from junior Kirsti Shough and four each from Pierson and sophomore Niki Cordova.
Reed said he thought the Lady Bulldogs, reportedly ranked No. 1 in Arizona’s Class 3A coming into the game, were a bit fatigued after playing host Gallup in Friday’s semifinals.
“I think that might have taken a lot out of them,” Reed said. “They didn’t have a lot of energy, and we took advantage of that.”
CHS led much of the first half, but the Lady Bulldogs rallied late to pull even at the break.
“We could’ve really done some damage as far as putting them away (before halftime),” Reed said. “They had all of the momentum going into the third quarter, so it was nice to see us get it back.”
Felencia Keawus led Winslow with 13 points, including three of the team’s five 3-pointers, but no one else reached double figures for the Lady Bulldogs.
Kirtland Central, which beat Clovis in Friday’s semifinals, upended Gallup in the championship game 68-59.
Clovis returns to action on Tuesday with a game at Canyon, Texas.