CHS GIRLS BASKETBALL: Coaches downplay rivalry

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Clovis High girls coach Miles Watters doesn’t want to overemphasize the importance of his team’s 7 p.m. District 4-5A opener today against rival Hobbs at Rock Staubus Gym.

He’d like his team to look at it as just another game — if that’s possible.

“I guess any time Clovis and Hobbs hook up, it’s a big game,” Watters said. “It’s big, but I think we’ve improved every week. Looking four or five weeks down the line, I think we’ll continue to get better.”

Meantime, Hobbs coach Johnny Casaus, a Clovis assistant under Dale Severson before leaving for the Lea County school prior to the 2000-01 season, is thinking along the same lines.

“We’re hoping we can get a top eight seed in the (state Class 5A) playoffs,” Casaus said. “The thing

The Lady Cats (13-5) have won four in a row since a 51-30 loss at Texas Class 3A power Canyon on Jan. 9. With only four games in district, they’d like to get the jump on their home floor against the Lady Eagles (13-9).

“We need everybody’s support,” Watters said. “The fans can make a big difference for us.”

Sophomore guard Mariah Sena, who has played well since into the Lady Cats’ starting lineup earlier this season, is about to get her first big taste of the rivalry. But said she’s not that nervous.

“More anxious,” she said. “I’m kind of a little nervous. It’s going to be real intense game.

“If we do what we do in practice, I think we’ll be fine.”

Sena said it took her a while to adapt to the starting role, but now she feels more comfortable. She’s had several games where she’s delivered baskets at key times.

“At the beginning, it was a little scary,” she said. “But now (every game) is just another game. I just know I’ve got to play my hardest.”

Hobbs’ strength is overall quickness and their ability to shoot the 3-pointer, Watters said, adding that they also have a solid inside presence in 5-foot-11 junior LaSandra Franklin.

“They’re not a very big team, but they have more quickness than anybody we’ve seen,” Watters said. “They’ve got a lot of depth, and they constantly attack the basket.”

Casaus said the Lady Cats have a distinct size advantage.

“We’re a lot smaller than they are,” Casaus said. “They’ve got some really good athletes and they’re well-coached.”

Hobbs at Clovis in a District 4-5A game
When: 7 p.m. today
On the radio: KKYC-FM 102.3.
Hobbs players to watch: Selena Florez, 5-0, PG, Sr.; LaSandra Franklin, 5-11 Jr. C, Jr.