Clovis junior Siobhan Flatow tries to split a Hobbs double block during Saturday’s District 4-5A tournament championship match at Rock Staubus Gym. Flatow finished with 12 kills. (CNJ staff photo: Rick White)
By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
Fifth game. All tied. District championship at stake. Those with heart conditions and pregnant females be warned.
The fifth and deciding game of the District 4-5A tournament championship match was tied four times before Clovis escaped with a 20-18 win Friday at Rock Staubus gymnasium.
Junior outside hitter Siobhan Flatow said the final points of Game 5 were breathtaking — literally.
“The last time they were at game point during that long rally — I didn’t breath,” Flatow said. “I was holding my breath the entire time. It all came down to who wanted it more, and we did.”
Flatow put down 12 kills in the match, including five in the last game.
Both teams are guaranteed berths in the state tournament.
Clovis coach Darrel Ray has a warning for whoever draws Hobbs.
“I think someone is going to take them for granted and they’re gonna slap the booger out of somebody,” the Clovis coach said.
The Lady Cats (16-6, 5-1) won the first two games 27-25, 25-21. Hobbs took the next two 25-20, 25-17, to force the fifth and deciding game.
“We played nearly perfect from the middle of the first game, through the rest of it, and into the second game,” Ray said. “We started Game 3 the same way, then we miss three serves, we missed some easy passes, and missed three or four opportunities. I was saying, ‘This is going to come back to haunt us.’ Then, bang, there they are.”
After losing Game 3, Ray said he was not sure if his team was going to be able to regain the momentum.
“(Hobbs) was playing desperate,” he said. “They needed that win, they got it. They got fired up and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to put out the fire.”
The Lady Cats were up as many as five points in the third game before Hobbs started their comeback.
“It was a wasted opportunity, it should have been done in three games,” Ray said. “We had the lead, everything was going so well, nothing seemed like it was stressing us, then we made a couple errors. Then that couple turned into three, that three turned into four, and before you know it, they’ve got the lead.
“This is a strange game. If you lose the momentum, you just might lose.”
Clovis’ Aimee Hilburn recorded a match-high 20 kills with freshman Tarah Sweet dishing out 33 assists.
Hobbs coach Brenda Wilson said she was extremely proud of how her team played. The Eagles dropped to 15-8, 2-4 in district, with the loss.
“It’s unfortunate that there has to be a loser because both teams fought so diligently,” Wilson said. “This is what a championship game is supposed to be.”
Jasmine Ward lead the Lady Eagles with eight kills and Lizette Paz added 14 assists.
With the win, Ray said he expects the Lady Cats to be seeded anywhere from fourth to seventh in the 16-team state tournament.
“Really, I think we deserve to be a four or five,” he said. “It’s unjustified if either of these two teams fall out of the top 10.”
District 4-5A championship
Clovis 3, Hobbs 2
Hobbs 25 21 25 25 18
Clovis 27 25 20 17 20
Kills — Hobbs, Jasmine Ward 8, Kenzie Tabor 7, Candace McTizic 5. Clovis, Aimee Hilburn 20, Siobhan Flatow 12. Blocks — Hobbs, Tabor 2, Demitre Young 2, Lizette Paz 1. Clovis, Hilburn 3, Flatow 2, Sweet 1. Digs — Hobbs, Ashley Magaha 4, Paz 2, Tabor 1, Young 1. Clovis, Brianne Bracken 4, Sweet 2, Flatow 2. Aces — Hobbs, Paz 2, Tabor 1. Clovis, Jessica Russell 3, Kim Perkins 3, Flatow 1, Hilburn 1. Assists — Hobbs, Paz 14. Clovis, Sweet 33. Records — Hobbs 15-7, Clovis 15-6.