Clovis junior A.J. Jernigan battles a cluster of Roswell Goddard players for possesion of the ball during Tuesday night’s girls season opener at The Rock
Tougher opponents are surely coming — likely this weekend — but for starters, the new-look Clovis High girls basketball team got off to a flying start Tuesday night.
The Lady Wildcats trailed early before going on a 26-2 run over the final 12 minutes of the first half en route to a 64-20 rout of Roswell Goddard at Rock Staubus Gym.
All 11 Clovis players broke into the scoring column, led by junior guard Mariah Sena with 10 points. Meantime, the Lady Cats’ swarming pressure defense harassed the overmatched Lady Rockets into 33 turnovers and limited them to 21 percent shooting (7-of-33).
CHS coach Miles Watters said it was nice to see the points spread out.
“We don’t care who scores,” he said. “We tried to press them and we got some turnovers, and we did a good job shooting the ball.”
For the game, the Lady Cats were 25-of-52 (48 percent), including 5-of-16 from 3-point range.
Those numbers will be tested as the competition stiffens, of course, but for now it was something to build on.
“I think we played really good,” said sophomore forward Antiesha Brown, who went 4-for-6 from the field for eight points and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds. “There’s a lot of room for improvement, but I think we’ll get better as the season goes.”
Goddard (0-1) took a 5-2 lead on a 3-pointer by Tiffany Green and led 7-5 after a driving shot by junior Brianna Garza with 4:15 left in the opening stanza. Senior guard Kayla Breedlove’s 3-pointer put Clovis in front for good 10-7 and only junior Marissa Mapp’s basket midway through the second segment prevented Goddard from being shut out the rest of the half, which ended with the Lady Cats cruising 31-9.
Watters said that while the team has room for improvement, he had no trouble with the overall effort. The Lady Cats put together runs of 13-0 and 16-1 in the second half.
“We’re not executing, but we’re really playing hard,” he said. “I think we’re going to get better every game.
“For the first outing, I feel pretty pleased. Now I wish we had a week to work on some of the weaknesses we saw.”
The Lady Cats don’t have that much time. They’re scheduled to travel to Abilene, Texas, for the 17-team Polk-Key City Tournament beginning Thursday.
Other than Clovis, it’s an all-Texas field, meaning most of the teams will have had several games under their belts.
The Lady Cats’ first-round matchup is at 5 p.m. (MST) Thursday against Abilene Wylie.