First-year Clovis High girls basketball coach Jeff Reed has made few changes in his rotation this season.
Tonight, when the Lady Wildcats host Hobbs in the District 4-5A tournament championship game, it may be different.
Senior guard Leia Willis sprained an ankle in practice earlier this week. Although she’s been improving every day since then and should play, she didn’t return to practice until Friday.
If she can’t go, junior Amanda Romero likely would be given her first start.
“I have to step my game up this week,” said Romero, a 5-foot-4 guard who normally averages around 10-12 minutes off the bench. “I used to be like the eighth man; now I’m the seventh man.
“It’s been a tough year for us, but we’ve excelled even with our ups and downs. We’ve come a long way.”
Romero said it’s been a surprisingly good year for the Lady Cats (23-4), coming off a 12-17 mark in 2007-08.
“I thought it was going to be hard, with a new coach and everything,” Romero said. “I thought it was just going to be an ‘experimental’ year.
“It’s shocked me — and probably everybody else.”
Clovis has won 13 in a row and 18 of its last 19. Included were two wins over the Lady Eagles (16-11) during regular-season district play.
Reed is reasonably optimistic Willis will be able to play, but knows the Lady Cats have to be ready to adjust.
“We need to get to playing good again,” Reed said. “We need to have a goog game and have some momentum going into the playoffs.”
Clovis is ranked third in 5A. Reed isn’t sure if the Lady Cats can move up, but said they probably need to win tonight to stay where they are.
The 16-team state field is expected to be announced on Sunday.
Clovis rallied in the fourth quarter for a 19-point win at The Rock on Feb 6, but had to hold off the Lady Eagles to prevail 53-50 last week at Hobbs.
“Hobbs is not going to come in here and lay down,” Reed said. “We’re going to have to come out and take the championship from them.”
CHS GIRLS CAPSULE
What: Hobbs (16-11) at Clovis (22-4) in the District 4-5A tournament championship game.
When: 7 p.m. today.
Radio: KSEL-FM 99.1
Last meeting: The Lady Cats beat Hobbs 53-50 on Feb. 20 at Hobbs behind a career-best 16 points from senior G Leia Willis.
Notes: Clovis has won 13 in a row and 18 of its last 19. … The Lady Cats used a 27-4 fourth-quarter run to erase a four-point deficit and beat the Lady Eagles 52-33 on Feb. 6 at The Rock. … Former Lady Wildcats assistant Johnny Casaus is in his eighth season as the Hobbs head coach.
— Compiled by Dave Wagner