Halftime speech triggers Lady Cats’ rout

Clovis senior Jessica Hohn and Carlsbad’s Tyrie Davis battle for a loose ball after a Clovis free throw attempt during the second half of Tuesday’s game at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.

Rick White

Freshman Tori Northcutt got the message and so did the rest of her teammates.

“He definitely put a spark in us,” Northcutt said with a little giggle about a halftime speech Clovis coach Miles Watters described as short and to the point.

“He told us to go out there and play our game; that we were a good team and we needed to go and show it,” Northcutt said.

And they did.

Picking up the intensity on defense and heating up from the outside, the Lady Wildcats turned the game into a rout, doubling a 13-point halftime lead by the midway point of the third quarter en route to a 66-22 win over Carlsbad in a District 4-5A game Tuesday at Rock Staubus Gym.

Senior Monique Walker led a balanced attack with 13 points and Tori Quintana added 12 as the Lady Wildcats (20-3, 4-1 in district) rebounded from its first district loss of the season last week at Hobbs.

“We were pretty upset about that loss,” said Northcutt, who finished with six points on two 3-pointers. “We were anxious to get out and play again.”

Watters said the solid second half saved him a night’s sleep.

“I was really disgusted with the first half,” Watters said. “But we came out and played a good 16 minutes.
“I guess I can sleep tonight.”

Watters was especially upset with his team’s poor defensive play.

“Our guards haven’t been rotating down and helping out,” said Watters, who called a timeout before the game was a minute old in obvious frustration when Carlsbad scored an easy basket. “That’s something that’s hurt us the last couple of weeks.”

Anne Hellebust led Carlsbad (13-9, 0-5) with six points. She came into the game averaging 19 points.

“They’re the best defensive team I’ve ever seen in my short career,” Carlsbad coach Steve Garza said. “They really get after you.
“They’re very good on offense, too.”

Carlsbad hung close early, closing within 15-10 two minutes into the second quarter on a pair of Hellebust free throws.

“Early in the game they pressed us and got some easy baskets,” Garza said. “But once they got us in a half-court game, we just struggled.”

Watters said at this time of year it’s had to press teams.
“We were really using a lot of energy and not getting much in return.”

Clovis hit four of its season-high eight 3-pointers in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second half, including back-to-back treys by Quintana and Aimee Hilburn (10 points) that gave the Lady Wildcats a 44-17 lead.

Brittany Blackmon added six of her eight points over the next three minutes as Clovis increased its lead to 52-17 after three quarters.

Clovis 66, Carlsbad 22
Carlsbad (13-9, 0-5) —
Cindi McKinnley 0 0-0 0, Carolyn Smith 2 0-0 4, Tyrie Smith 0 1-2 1, Kayla Jaragin 1 3-4 5, Stephanie McGary 0 0-0 0, Kelli Egan 0 0-0 0, Tyler Davis 0 2-2 2, Anne Hellebust 2 2-5 6, Cheyvonne Sanchez 1 0-0 2, Breanna Short 0 0-0 0, Jocelyn Calderon 0 2-3 2. Totals 6 10-16 22.
Clovis (20-3, 4-1) — Tori Quintana 4 0-0 12, Melissa Roberts 1 1-2 4, Brittany Blackmon 4 0-1 8, Monique Walker 6 1-1 13, Vanessa O’Neal 1 0-0 2, Tori Northcutt 2 0-0 6, Jessica Russell 1 0-0 2, Jessica Hohn 3 3-3 9, Aimee Hilburn 4 1-2 10, Tyisha Brown 0 0-0 0, Vanessa Vaca 0 0-2 0. Totals 25 6-9 66.
Carlsbad 8 8 1 5 — 22
Clovis 15 14 23 14 — 66
3-pointers — Clovis, Quintana 4, Northcutt 2, Hilburn, Roberts. JV score — Clovis 59, Carlsbad 23.