Clovis High girls coach Jeff Reed looked at the size on the Pinnacle, Ariz. basketball team and figured his squad’s best chance was to press … and press … and press some more.
The Lady Wildcats jumped on Pinnacle from the outset, forcing the Lady Pioneers into 33 turnovers Saturday night en route to a 68-58 victory in the New Mexico/Arizona Challenge at Rock Staubus Gym.
Junior Ashlee Pierson scored a career-best 23 points and the Lady Cats (11-3) got contributions from almost everyone who played as standout Antiesha Brown battled through a slow start and foul problems.
“That was a good one,” said Reed, who earned his 100th victory as a high school head coach. “We did some of the things we’ve tried to stress.”
Despite her problems, Brown came on in the second half and finished with 18 points, getting eight of them in a wild fourth quarter in which CHS outscored the Lady Pioneers 24-21.
Senior guard Amande Romero added nine points, sophomore post Paige Gardner filled in off the bench and scored six points and senior guard Katharine Cordova scored all six of her points in a 16-9 Clovis run during the third period.
Pierson said she was disappointed with her play in Clovis’ 62-42 win over Monument Valley, Ariz. on Friday.
“I had to pick it up,” she said. “After yesterday, I had to prove something. I just played with a lot of heart.”
Clovis got out of the gates quickly, forcing 11 Lady Pioneers turnovers in the first quarter. Still, Pinnacle managed to trim a 12-4 deficit to two points late in the period.
Pinnacle had 12 turnovers in a slow-paced 33-28 win on Friday over Portales. In this game, the Lady Pioneers committed their 12th turnover three seconds into the second period.
They rallied, though, going on a 13-5 run to take a four-point lead late in the half. Late baskets by reserves Kayla Ware and Gardner tied it 28-28 at the half.
Clovis then forced three turnovers in the first minute of the third quarter and opened a 34-28 lead.
“I felt like they’d be sluggish and we could wear them out,” Reed said. “They’re going to be a good basketball team. I thnk they’re struggling a little bit right now with injuries and stuff, but I’m not going to take anything away from my girls.”
The Lady Cats built leads of 10 points twice in the second half, then saw Pinnacle close to four with under four mintutes left before pressure-induced turnovers resulted in several easy baskets down the stretch.
“It was fun for us,” Pierson said of the up-and-down game. “We wanted to show them that we can run, too.”