Cats can’t hold lead

Staff photos:   Tony Bullocks Clovis junior Elighio Rodriguez  splits a pair of St. Michael’s defenders on a layup attempt in the first half of Tuesday’s night game at the Rock.

Staff photos:
Tony Bullocks
Clovis junior Elighio Rodriguez
splits a pair of St. Michael’s defenders on a layup attempt in the first half of Tuesday’s night game at the Rock.

t a 45-36 victory.

The six-team field, which was to have included the CHS junior varsity squad, became a four-team grouping on Tuesday when Lovington was unable to make the trip back to Clovis due to icy roads. The schedule for today was adjusted again with St. Mike’s (5-5) facing Clayton for the second time in the event at 4 p.m. and the Cats (3-6) taking on Volcano Vista at 7:30 p.m.

The Horsemen struggled at the line for three quarters, going 5-for-10, but hit 8-of-10 after calling a timeout with 5:47 left, trailing 36-35.

“We’re a work in progress,” veteran St. Mike’s coach Ron Geyer said. “We were able to execute at times. They (Cats) hit some 3s to get back in the game, but we held our composure.”

Senior guard Marcus Pincheira-Sandoval scored 14 points for Horsemen, including four free throws in the final 45 seconds.

Senior guard Tristen Pautler led the Cats with 10 points, and hit a pair of baskets to complete a rally from a 10-point halftime deficit for their first lead of the game early in the final period.

Clovis used an 18-11 run in the third quarter to pull to 33-30.

“We came out with good energy in the second half,” Cats coach Scott Robinson said. “When we took the lead, I felt like we could keep the momentum, but for whatever reason, after that we couldn’t get anything to go.

“We had a lot of opportunities to score, but we just didn’t get it done. We didn’t finish strong in the paint.”

Like St. Mike’s, the Cats came into this season with little varsity experience.

“I told coach Robinson that he’s doing a great job,” said Geyer. “He’s got a lot of energy and I’ve always been impressed with him.”

In last year’s holiday tournament here, the Cats overcame a 17-point deficit to edge the Horsemen 56-54.

“It was a great win for us,” he said.