With eight seconds to play, Clovis had only pulled down two offensive rebounds all night. Katharine Cordova made sure the third one counted.
The senior guard snatched a carom off a free throw miss, preventing Portales a final chance to alter what ended as a 30-28 Clovis win Tuesday night at the PHS gym.
Cordova had six points, and was one of only four scorers in a season-low offensive output for Clovis (13-4), which never trailed but had its share of scares against the 3A Lady Rams. Clovis, however, still heads into its Milk Cow Classic this weekend having won three of four.
Early on, Tuesday looked nothing like the slugfest it would become, with a trapping Lady Wildcats squad forcing 13 first-quarter turnovers and keeping Portales (8-6) scoreless for the first 7:27 of the contest.
“We didn’t execute in the first quarter very well,” Portales coach Clay Stout said, “and we obviously had way too many turnovers.”
But Portales, as it has done all season, slowly dragged its opponent into its deliberate half-court style and at four separate points had the deficit cut to two.
Clovis, which jumped to a 9-0 lead behind the early turnovers, only hit one 3-pointer — a key reason coach Jeff Reed said the Lady Cats couldn’t pull away.
“They play that style and they’re so good at just dragging you into it,” Reed said. “If we can’t open it up from the outside against that sagging defense, there’s not much we can do.”
Portales took control, turning the ball over just seven times after the first quarter. Senior post Jenna Wagner scored nine of her game-high 13 in the second half, including a pair of free throws with 1:35 to play put the deficit at 30-28.
Following consecutive turnovers, Clovis stalled for 30 seconds before Pierson drew a foul in the final seconds. Her front-end free throw was off the mark, but Cordova got the board and got the ball back out to Pierson, who dribbled out the rest of the clock.
“I was just thinking get the ball,” said the 5-foot-7 guard, “and I just tried to get it back to Ashlee.”
Pierson had seven points for Clovis, which faces Rio Rancho Friday night to open the Milk Cow Classic.
Portales travels to winless Roswell Goddard Friday before starting District 4-3A play at Ruidoso Tuesday.