RIO RANCHO — Senior post Jaye Crockett scored 27 points and hit a pair of clinching free throws in the closing seconds as Clovis High’s boys turned back Rio Rancho 76-70 Saturday night.
The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Cats (11-7). Senior Arthur Calbert added 17 points for Clovis.
For the Rams (10-8), freshman guard Josh Quintana had three 3-pointers and 17 points, while senior guard Jorel Johnson scored 12 and junior forward Josh Walker added 11 points.
Clovis had a 15-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but struggled with turnovers and shaky free throw shooting down the stretch as the Rams stepped up their defensive pressure.
“We need to take care of the ball and shoot free throws better,” CHS coach J.D. Isler said. “But it was a good road win against a good opponent.”
The teams seesawed the lead through the first quarter, but the Cats posted a 22-11 scoring margin in the second stanza to open a 37-27 halftime lead.
Crockett scored 14 of his points in that period.
“We played real aggressively in the first half,” Isler said. “That was probably the best first half we’ve played this year.”
Clovis led 58-47 after three periods before extending its lead early in the final stanza.
Isler said senior guard Stefan Mills got in foul trouble during the third quarter and then fouled out with about five minutes left.
“That really hurt our continuity on offense,” Isler said. “We just had about three minutes where we didn’t take care of the ball or make our free throws.”
The Rams got as close as 68-64 late in the game, but Crockett ripped the ball away from a Rio Rancho player after a missed Clovis free throw and scored to give the Cats a little bit of breathing room.
Guards Brian Pierson and Dexter Correll had nine points each for the Cats, who helped keep the Rams in it by sinking only 14 of their 28 free throws.
The Cats return home Tuesday for a 7 p.m. contest against Artesia, then hit the road on Friday to face Los Lunas.