Lady Cats clobber Cavegirls

Clovis’ Brittany Blackmon tries to make a move to the basket as Carlsbad defenders Kayla Jarnagin, ( No. 20) and Kelly Egan (No. 24) hold on during the second half of their game Tuesday at Rock Staubus Gym. Clovis won 67-35. (CNJ staff Eric Kluth)

By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer

Two weeks ago, as Clovis junior point guard Tori Quintana was struggling shooting from the outside, the Clovis coaches gave her some advice.

“Don’t quit shooting, you’re going to bust out of it anytime,” Clovis coach Miles Watters said.

Quintana hit six of seven 3-point shots for 18 points as the Lady Cats pounded Carlsbad 67-35 on Tuesday at Rock Staubus Gym. Combine that with her performance from Friday’s game against Sandia, and Quintana’s made 11 of her last 13 3-pointers.

Watters said it was just a matter of time before Quintana got hot from the field.

“She’s a great shooter,” Watters said. “You’ve just got to shoot your way out of a slump.”

The Lady Cats, No. 1 in the Albuquerque Journal 5A coaches’ poll, keeps their perfect record intact at 22-0 and 4-0 in District 4-5A.

Clovis broke the game open over the last five minutes of the second quarter with 14-6 run to end the first half. The Lady Cats took advantage of Carlsbad (14-6, 0-2) turnovers, and Watters and Quintana said the team started playing with more patience on offense and defense.

“We really couldn’t get in a rhythm. We’d either have one pass and shoot or one pass and try to force it inside,” Watters said of the first quarter and early second quarter.

“When we started passing the ball around three or four times, we started getting some good looks.”

Sophomore Tori Northcutt, freshman Ebony Bunton, sophomore Siobhan Flatow and Quintana all scored points on the run, as typical scoring threats Brittany Blackmon and Aimee Hilburn were on the bench with two fouls.

The early foul trouble didn’t stop Blackmon. She had a game-high 23 points, seven rebounds and five steals. She scored 14 in the third quarter, when Clovis outscored Carlsbad 21-3.

Blackmon spent most of her time planted in the paint getting lobs from guards like Quintana.

“Just get it down there high, nobody can outjump our posts so far that we’ve seen,” said Quintana, who had four assists.

Carlsbad coach Steve Garza praised the Lady Wildcats’ effort.

“Brittany Blackmon’s awesome, Tori Quintana’s awesome. They’re just a quality team. They have some superior players, but it’s a quality team, I mean everyone in the game steps up.”

Twice Blackmon took assists from Roxanne Luera at the end of a fast break off a steal in the third quarter. Turnovers plagued Carlsbad all night. They finished with 30 on the night, some caused by unforced errors and others by Clovis’ defense. The Lady Cats had 22 steals.

“We need to step up offensively, Clovis applies great man-to-man pressure,” Garza said.

Senior guard Carolyn Smith led Carlsbad with 12 points, with most coming on drives for layups or at the free-throw line.