Clovis girls outlast Gallup

By Dave Wagner
SPORTS WRITER
dwagner@cnjonline.com
Tuesday’s Clovis High-Gallup girls final in the Plateau Holiday Classic could benefit both teams as the season progresses.

Playing a game with the energy and intensity of a state tournament final, the Lady Wildcats had just enough at the end to hang on for a 72-70 win and their fifth consecutive championship in the event at Rock Staubus Gym.

This one was certainly one of the toughest.

“It makes us better, and it definitely gives us a challenge,” said senior guard Nichele Hyman, who scored 17 points despite sitting out the entire third quarter with three fouls. “It was a fun, challenging game for us.”

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson Clovis senior Nichele Hyman gets free from a Gallup trap near the corner in the first half of Wednesday’s game at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. Hyman had 17 points in Clovis’ 72-70 win.

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Clovis senior Nichele Hyman gets free from a Gallup trap near the corner in the first half of Wednesday’s game at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. Hyman had 17 points in Clovis’ 72-70 win.

Hyman came back in the final period to score eight of her points.

“She was rested, and it showed,” CHS coach Jeff Reed said. “She was able to take it to the basket and finish.”

Senior guard Danni Williams finished with 29 points and made big play after big play for the Lady Cats (12-1), who went just two deep on the bench but got significant contributions from junior Serena Garcia and sophomore Jaci Sievers, especially with Hyman and senior Dee Briggins missing stretches with foul trouble.

“They did a good job of giving us some good minutes off the bench,” Reed said.

How close was the game? Both teams had six 3-pointers, 15 fouls and 18 turnovers, and Class 5A Gallup (11-1) went 12-of-14 from the free throw line to the Lady Cats’ 12-of-15.
The difference was one two-point basket — 21-20.

“It was what we figured it would be,” Gallup coach Kamau Turner said. “They’re a good team, and we’re a good team.

“We haven’t really competed with them like we have for the past few years, but I think we have better leadership this year.”

Senior Tilea Reyna scored 24 points for the Lady Bengals, 18 of them coming in the first half. She was held scoreless in the final period.

“The first half we played man-to-man and got into some foul trouble, and they exposed us on some stuff,” Reed said. “When we went to the (halfcourt) trap (after halftime), we took their 3s away a little and got some transition.”

Clovis led by as many as six points, but the teams entered the fourth quarter tied. Freshman guard Teya Morris hit a couple of 3-pointers early in the period to keep the Lady Cats in front, but they didn’t take the lead for good until Hyman scored with just under a minute left.

Williams then pried the ball loose from a Gallup guard near midcourt and went in for a layup and a four-point lead. Gallup’s Deerae Torrez made two free throws, and the Lady Bengals then forced CHS into two timeouts and a turnover on the subsequent inbounds pass.

Gallup then had two shots to tie that missed. Senior Shelby Jones cleared the board for the Lady Cats and got the outlet pass to Hyman, who was fouled with four seconds to go.
She missed the 1-and-1 and Gallup got a timeout, but Williams intercepted a long inbounds pass to seal it.

The Lady Cats return to action on Saturday against Trinity Christian at Lubbock.