Lady Cats roll past Goddard in opener

Clovis’ Tori Quintana drives the baseline during the second half of Tuesday’s season opener against Roswell Goddard at Rock Staubus Gym. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

If Brittany Blackmon was nervous Tuesday night, her numbers certainly belied it.

The Clovis High senior post scored 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting, grabbed a team-high six rebounds and paced a defense that harassed Roswell Goddard into 31 turnovers as the Lady Wildcats rolled to a season-opening 68-35 win at Rock Staubus Gym.

The defending Class 5A state champion Lady Cats wasted little time jumping on Goddard, scoring the game’s first 10 points and rolling to a 22-6 lead at the quarter. While they struggled at times during the game, they were never in any danger in winning their 31st game in a row and 39th in the last 40, dating back to the 2003-04 season.

Senior guard Tori Quintana added 17 points, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Quintana capped the first quarter with her third 3-pointer of the period after senior Aimee Hilburn deflected a ball to her in the backcourt.

“At times everything looked pretty good, but you can tell our timing is off and we’re not in very good shape,” CHS girls coach Miles Watters said. “I thought when we extended our pressure on their guards, that helped us.”

Clovis’ defense forced the Lady Rockets (1-1) into turnovers on seven of their first eight possessions, and the Lady Cats opened a 10-0 lead midway through the quarter on a 3-pointer by junior Tori Northcutt.

“I think we were all kind of nervous tonight,” Blackmon said. “We just need to get into shape; once we do that, we’ll be fine.”

Blackmon took advantage of good passes from her teammates — Clovis had 20 assists and shot 52 percent from the field — while creating a myriad of Goddard turnovers on the other end with her quick hands.

“Coach has been talking about how (the graduated) Melissa Roberts was a good defensive player and would steal the ball a lot,” Blackmon said. “I’m just trying to step up my defense a notch.”

Quintana led the team in assists with seven — all in the second half — while Northcutt added five and Hilburn four. Watters also praised the play of junior guard Heather Malloy off the bench, noting that in addition to scoring four points she contributed on the defensive end.

“We’ve got to have somebody like Heather come off the bench and give us a lift,” he said of his inexperienced reserve corps.

Senior Samantha Lawrence led Goddard with 10 points, but the Lady Rockets shot just 31 percent from the field, including 3-of-14 from 3-point range, and went 8-of-18 on free throws.

Watters said the team should get a stiffer test on Friday night at Portales, the 2005 Class 3A state runnerup.

“It’ll take us some time,” he said. “We’ll have our hands full come Friday night against a very talented Portales team.”

Clovis 68, Roswell Goddard 35
Roswell Goddard (1-1) —
Jamie Edgett 1 1-2 4, Kelly Edgett 0 1-2 1, Kambrea Novak 0 0-0 0, Krissy Bowen 3 1-1 7, Laura Fry 2 2-4 6, Amanda McCracken 2 0-0 6, Monique Gilaspy 0 0-0 0, Samantha Lawrence 4 2-5 10, Ann Vega 0 1-4 1. Totals 12-38 8-18 35.
Clovis (1-0) — Mariah Sena 0-1 0-0 0, Tori Quintana 6-11 0-0 17, Kayla Breedlove 2-5 0-0 4, Brittany Blackmon 10-13 2-4 22, Jessica Russell 0-1 1-2 1, Heather Malloy 2-2 0-1 4, Tori Northcutt 3-5 0-0 7, Brittany Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Jasmine McDonald 1-3 2-2 4, Britni Montague 0-0 0-0 0, Aimee Hilburn 3-8 2-2 9, Kanisha Beachum 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-52 7-11 68.
Goddard 6 8 9 12 — 35
Clovis 22 16 17 13 — 68
3-pointers —
Roswell Goddard 3-14 (McCracken 2, J. Edgett), Clovis 7-16 (Quintana 5-8, Northcutt 1-2, Hilburn 1-3, Breedlove 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Sena 0-1). Rebounds — Roswell Goddard 29, Clovis 26 (Blackmon 6). Assists — Roswell Goddard n/a, Clovis 20 (Quintana 7). Total fouls — Roswell Goddard 11, Clovis 15. Fouled out — none.