Clovis escapes after blowing 20-point lead

By Kevin Wilson

CNJ STAFF WRITER

kwilson@cnjonline.com

Willie McCray had two free throws, but he was essentially shooting a one-and-one. Miss the first, and the second one might as well not exist.

At the line stood McCray, Clovis trailing 58-56 and no time left on the clock. His four Wildcat teammates waiting in the backcourt, hoping McCray gives them second life by hitting both. Five Canyon Eagles wait there too, hoping one rims out and they celebrate a stunning win after they trailed 39-19 at the half.

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Clovis guard Willie McCray dishes off to a teammate underneath in the first half Tuesday against Canyon. McCray scored 29 points in Clovis’ 72-65 overtime win.

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Clovis guard Willie McCray dishes off to a teammate underneath in the first half Tuesday against Canyon. McCray scored 29 points in Clovis’ 72-65 overtime win.

“Don’t miss, just clutch,” McCray said he thought to himself.

Good. Good. Fist pump of relief, and an 11-2 run to start overtime as Clovis held off Canyon 72-65 Tuesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Roland Chavez added 10 points and nine rebounds for Clovis (7-5), which blew things open in the second quarter with runs of 11-0 and 12-0 and then somehow survived going the final 7:03 of the fourth quarter without a field goal.

Clovis coach Matt King felt the Wildcats played two great quarters, and wasn’t displeased with the third quarter. But the final quarter, won 28-9 by the visiting Eagles (11-6) is something he felt the Wildcats had to learn from.

“We had three really close games,” King said. “The lesson was that we’ve got to close games. In an unorthodox way, we were able to do that. They did a good job.”

McCray, who scored 10 of his game-high 29 points in overtime, concurred.

“We just got lackadaisical, started relaxing and we didn’t keep the energy up,” said McCray. “We were content with a big lead. We don’t need to do that anymore.”

It would have been a twist for Clovis, which had less than two weeks before defeated St. Michael’s after trailing by 17 in the fourth. Had McCray missed either of those late free throws, Clovis would have tasted that bitter medicine of losing a game they should have won.

“It just shows you how tough that kid is,” King said. “We expect those makes from him.”

Dylan Douglass scored 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 from the line. In total, the Eagles shot 16-18 from the stripe.” Jacob Relyea added 18 and Cody Price 13 for Canyon.

Clovis hits the road Thursday to take on Espanola Valley, and returns home for a 5:30 p.m. Saturday tipoff against Onate.

 

Clovis (7-5)

Willie McCray 9-17 8-12 29, Roland Chavez 5-10 0-1 10, Kamal Cass 2-3 5-6 9, Justin Henderson 2-3 2-2 8, Marquese Gaither 1-3 4-6 6, Traivon Sopila 2-6 0-0 4, D.D. Egbert 1-1 2-4 4, Totals 23-43 21-33 72.

Canyon (11-6)

Dylan Douglass 5-11 9-10 19, Jacob Relyea 6-13 3-3 18, Cody Price 6-9 1-1 13, Aaron Hughes 2-5 1-2 5, Adam Alexander 2-3 0-0 4, Brett Weaver 2-6 2-2 6, Totals 23-47 16-18 65.

 

Canyon 15 4 11 28 7 — 65

Clovis 16 23 10 9 14 — 72

 

3-pointers — Canyon 3-5 (Relyea 3-4, Price 0-1), Clovis 5-16 (McCray 3-8, Henderson 2-3, Sopila 0-1, Brewer 0-2, Gaither 0-2). Rebounds — Canyon 29 (Douglass 11), Clovis 18 (Chavez 9). Turnovers — Canyon 30, Clovis 19. Fouls — Canyon 19, Clovis 24. Technicals — Canyon coach Jason Underwood. Fouled out — Douglass. Junior varsity — Canyon 47, Clovis 38.