By Eric Butler
Have game. Will travel.
That’s one way to describe Talmai Aguirre, who traveled more than 400 miles (one way) to play with the Clovis 14-and-under Wildcats in this weekend’s state AAU basketball tournament in Clovis.
As a freshman at Silver (City) High, Aguirre was the state’s leading scorer, averaging 26.6 points a game. Silver advanced to the Class 4A semifinals last year before falling to Moriarty.
Two years ago as an eighth-grader, she registered 19.6 points per contest.
But Saturday, it was Aguirre coming off the bench for Clovis — with the Wildcats up 17-6 four minutes into the game. The super-sophomore-to-be at Silver immediately hit a fancy layup, two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws to help Clovis go up 27-11 en route to a 77-43 win over the New Mexico Magic All-Stars that put the Wildcats into today’s championship game.
“They just asked me if I wanted to come up and play, and I said ‘yeah,’” said Aguirre, who got to know some of the Wildcats’ players — like Tori Quintana — at a basketball camp in Las Cruces.
Ironically, Aguirre and Quintana closely resemble each other.
“Everybody tells us that. They ask if we’re sisters,” said Aguirre, who pronounces her first name “tal-may.”
Aguirre said she’s planning on rejoining her Clovis teammates, if the team is able to qualify for the national AAU tournament in mid-July at Clarksville, Tenn.
In order to do that, she added that she’ll do whatever’s necessary — including coming off the bench.
“They’re very good girls to get along with and they play well together,” Aguirre said. “It (not starting) is different, but as long as we win — that’s all that matters.”
Aguirre said playing with Clovis doesn’t mean there’s any possibility of her transferring far away from her Silver City home.
“Oh, you didn’t know she didn’t (transfer)?” joked Clovis High girls coach Miles Watters. “I thought that was part of the deal for her playing here.”