CHS girls state tournament notes

Sophomore Tori Quintana has hit big shots all season — and she did again in Wednesday’s 56-32 win over Gallup.

After a nightmarish first half, Quintana hit 3-pointers to start the third and fourth quarters and finished the second half 3-for-3 from behind the arc. She missed all six of her shots in the first half, including five 3-pointers.

Clovis coach Miles Watters credited assistant coach Regina Downing with calling the plays that got Quintana going.

“She was getting good shots (in the first half), she was just rushing her shot,” he said.

Quintana sat out last week’s regional game against Los Lunas because of a concussion and it affected her, Downing said.

“She was just so excited to play after sitting out last week that I think she was trying to get it all back at once.”

Dangerous duty
Downing has more than basketball on her mind this week.

Her husband, Air Force Master Sgt. Warren Downing, was deployed to Iraq two week’s ago.

Warren Downing is one of the Lady Wildcats’ biggest supporters. He also helps his wife coach an AAU team in the summer that includes six current Clovis players.

“It’s been pretty rough,” Regina Downing said.

Warren Downing was able to call Wednesday night.

Free throws favor CHS
If tonight’s title game against Mayfield comes down to free throws — which often happens — the Lady Wildcats have the edge.

Clovis shoots 68 percent as a team from the line, led by sophomore Aimee Hilburn and freshman Tori Northcutt.
Hilburn and Northcutt combined to make 11-of-12 free throws against Gallup.

Not soft anymore
The Lady Wildcats have been accused of being soft in the past, but not any more. Sophomore post Brittany Blackmon is a big reason. Her tenacity going after a rebound or loose ball has been contagious.

Senior Monique Walker’s numbers are down, but she’s become a much better rebounder, especially at the defensive end. Blackmon’s emergence sent former starter Jessica Hohn to the bench, but the senior has responded by playing the best basketball of her career, according to Watters.

Tournament tidbits
Junior guard Melissa Roberts won a Class 2A state title as a freshman at Texico. Her older sister, Jennifer, and Eastern New Mexico sophomore Elizabeth Richards were the stars. … Wednesday’s semifinal matched two of the winningest girls coaches in the state: Watters picked up his 436th win in the game, while Gallup’s Johnny Lomansey has won 415.

— Rick White