Clovis High’s Brittany Johnson gets defensive pressure from Gadsden’s Alma Gallegos during Thursday’s first-round game in the Plateau Holiday Classic at Rock Staubus Gym. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
There wasn’t much doubt Thursday night about whether or not Clovis High would advance to the semifinals of the Plateau Holiday Classic.
The Lady Wildcats overwhelmed Gadsden with defensive pressure from the get-go, cruising to a 59-23 victory at Rock Staubus Gym.
Senior Tori Northcutt and junior Ebony Bunton scored 12 points each as the Lady Cats (7-3) gave Miles Watters his 499th career victory as a high school girls coach.
He’ll go for No. 500 in a 6 p.m. semifinal game today against Alamogordo (7-5), which also had an easy time on Thursday in a 72-29 drubbing of Dexter.
Watters said he didn’t find much satisfying about the win.
“I was a little disappointed in our defensive effort,” he said. “I didn’t think we got out on the passing lanes like I thought we should.”
Still, Clovis wasted no time jumping on the young Lady Panthers (2-7), whose 11-player roster included five sophomores and four juniors.
“We got to play everybody,” he said. “We put them away in the first few minutes. I think we played a little sloppy at times, but it was a good first game for us.”
The Lady Cats’ bench got a lot of minutes, and actually scored nearly as many points (29) as the starters (30). Freshman Katharine Cordova finished with nine points while senior Britni Montague added seven.
“We came out pretty ready,” junior Jennifer Vaca said of the subs. “Once we get in there, we just play our hardest and try to show coach Watters what we have.”
The coach took note.
“They (subs) held their own,” he said. “I was pleased with Cordova; she hit a couple of tough shots tonight.
“But overall, I thought we took a couple of steps back from where we were before the break.”
Sophomore post Jasmine Arias provided almost all of Gadsden’s offense, scoring 15 points and finishing with six of the team’s eight field goals.
“Jasmine’s going to be a big player for us,” Gadsden coach Charles Milligan said. “She’s a sophomore and she makes mistakes, but when she’s at her best she can score.”
Milligan said the Lady Cats’ pressure hurt his team badly in the early going.
“Tonight, I can’t question the girls’ defensive effort,” he said, “but we just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end.”
Watters said Alamo, which is in the same district as Gadsden, could give the Lady Cats a stiff test.
“Alamogordo played with a lot of energy today, more than we did,” he said. “They’ve got a nice bunch.”