Height erases a lot of mistakes — if Trent Internationale had, you know, bothered to make any.
Flanked by Division-I height on the inside, and their normal hot-shooting night from tournament MVP Qua Foster, the visiting Phoenix led for all but about 90 seconds in the first half of a convincing 72-62 victory over host Clovis to claim the Southwest Dairy Farmers Classic Saturday night at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
Foster, averaging 27 points a game for Trent this season, scored the Phoenix' first 10 points and hit three of the team's eight 3-pointers en route to a 25-point night to lead three in double figures.
"He can do it all," Trent coach Eugene Harris said of Foster. "He can go to the basket hard, or he can shoot it from anywhere. We can run a lot of screen and rolls. He can dump it off, and if they draw defenders they can kick it out. He shoots it, it's going to go in."
It wasn't a good choice for Clovis (7-3) most of the night, either having to leave Foster and other shooters open or let their undersized post defenders go one-on-one against Ahmed Hamdy, Xavier Dupree or Justin Hollins — all three 6-foot-9.
"You've got to make decisions," Clovis coach Matt King said. "You've got to decide whether you take away their posts where there are two Division-I players (Hamdy and Dupree), or you take away their perimeter game."
Dupree had 14 points and Hamdy 13, many coming on uncontested dunks or short putbacks.
Clovis, led by D.J. Blackmon's 21 points, predictably struggled against a Phoenix frontcourt that stayed out of foul trouble, blocked 10 shots and altered several others. King noted that the Wildcats shot just 6-of-26 from the 2-point range and only took one shot outside of the paint, and only one Wildcat — Drew Cole with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting — even managed a 50 percent night from the field.
"We got the shots we wanted," King said, "but their height was tough for us to get over."
The Wildcats threatened to start the third quarter, with Dawson scoring a pair of baskets and Blackmon hitting 3-of-4 free throws to make it a 41-40 deficit, but Foster hit a left-corner trey to jumpstart a 9-2 run, and Clovis never got closer than six the rest of the way.
Blackmon and Dawson, who scored 16 for Clovis, were named to the all-tournament team, along with Hamdy and Trent's DaRon Curry.
Clovis is off until Friday, when it hosts Las Cruces, and King figures the Wildcats are better off for the tournament experience despite the loss.
"I think there are some positives we can take out of it," King said. "We played a team that is very, very tough and they played really well tonight. I think we were toe-to-toe with them, and I was really pleased with our effort."
SOUTHWEST DAIRY FARMERS CLASSIC
At Rock Staubus Gym
El Paso Cathedral 43, St. Michael's 39
Sugar Land (Texas) Trent Internationale, first-round bye
Albuquerque High 67, Hereford 45
Clovis 84, El Paso Harmony Science 54
St. Michael's 71, Clovis JV 36
Hereford 78, Harmony Science 43
Trent Internationale 59, Cathedral 49
Clovis 62, Albuquerque High 54
Harmiony Science 65, Clovis JV 50 (7th)
St. Michael's 46, Hereford 34(5th)
Albuquerque High 53, Cathedral 48 (3rd)
Trent Internationale 72, Clovis 62 (championship)
All-tournament: Qua Foster, Trent Internationale (MVP); John Dawson, Clovis; D.J. Blackmon, Clovis; DaRon Curry, Trent Internationale; Xavier Dupree, Trent Internationale; Jeff Groenewold, St. Michael's; Kenan Guzonjic, El Paso Cathedral; Mahlik Sims, Albuquerque High.