It took the Clovis High Lady Wildcats three quarters to find the “on” switch Friday night. That proved to be more than enough time.
Clovis forced Hobbs into 10 fourth-quarter turnovers and held the Lady Eagles scoreless from the floor in the period, erasing a four-point deficit with a 27-4 stampede en route to a 52-33 District 4-5A victory at Rock Staubus Gym.
Senior Brittany Johnson scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Lady Cats (18-4, 1-0 district), who extended their winning streak to nine games. Junior post Antiesha Brown added 19 points.
“We always want to win the fourth quarter, and we did that tonight,” Johnson said. “But those first three quarters …”
Hobbs (15-9, 1-1) kept the game relatively at the pace it wanted for three quarters, and when the Lady Eagles opened the third period with a 7-0 run they found themselves ahead 20-19.
That lead grew to 25-21 when senior guard Audriana Barrientes found the net with her second 3-pointer of the period. Hobbs then scored the final four points of the quarter for a 29-25 lead.
Brown and Johnson had all but two of Clovis’ points to that time, but the floodgates opened after junior guard Amanda Romero’s 3-pointer made it 29-28 about 90 seconds into the final stanza.
“That was a big shot,” Johnson said. “We really needed that.”
A short time later, Clovis forced three turnovers in a span of about 30 seconds and converted them into seven points. Brown’s three-point play capped the blitz, making it 37-31.
Later, the Lady Cats went on a 12-0 run to give the game the look of a blowout.
Clovis limited Hobbs to 33 percent field goal shooting and forced a total of 25 turnovers, while committing only 12 of their own.
“Their pressure probably wore us down,” Hobbs coach and one-time Clovis assistant Johnny Casaus said. “Once they built the lead up to about seven, I started feeling it slipping away.
“The score doesn’t indicate the entire game. I feel like we beat ourselves.”
CHS girls coach Jeff Reed said he thought the Lady Cats were rushing a bit.
“We didn’t work the ball the way we should’ve (early in the game),” he said. “I’m glad we did that and were (still) able to win. Now we’ve got it on film.”
Casaus subbed regularly trying to keep his players fresh.
“They just did a good job of working hard and getting after us,” Reed said. “One of the things we were able to do was wear them down in the fourth quarter with our press.”
Johnson said the game should help the Lady Cats as they try to make a push deep into the postseason.
“We need games like this,” she said. “The crowd was getting into it tonight. That’s the way it’s going to be from here on out.”