Antiesha Brown and the Clovis Lady Wildcats got off to a blazing start Saturday night.
Brown funneled in 22 first-half points on 9-of-11 shooting, and senior guard Jadee Isler’s 35-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Clovis a 25-point cushion against Alamogordo.
The Lady Tigers were able to stem the tide somewhat in the second half, but Clovis coasted to a 65-50 victory at Rock Staubus Gym.
Brown finished with a career-high 29 points, and made it a double-double with 10 rebounds. Meantime, after the Lady Cats (12-4) missed their first seven 3-point shots, Isler’s last-second dagger as the half ran out got her going and she finished with three treys and 11 points.
Still, Clovis coach Jeff Reed thought his team could have done a better job of finishing off the Lady Tigers (12-5).
“It wasn’t pleased about that,” he said of the sluggish second half. “We wanted to come out and jump on them in the third quarter, and we didn’t do that.”
Not to worry, though. Alamo got as close as 16 points in the second half, and that was it.
Isler’s 3-pointer capped a half in which the Lady Cats shot 57 percent despite their 1-for-8 showing from long range.
“I just couldn’t hit anything that first half,” said Isler, who missed her first five 3-point attempts but made her last three. “Once that halfcourt shot went in, it just kind of boosted my confidence.”
Alamo coach Bill Stockton said he went away from his man-to-man philosophy, playing zone most of the way to try to neutralize Brown.
“We dug ourselves a hole early and couldn’t get out of it,” he said. “I told the kids we had to do away with the silly turnovers, and that didn’t happen. And we had to win the battle of the boards, and that didn’t happen.”
Actually, Alamo held a 35-31 edge on the glass, but the senior-laden Lady Tigers couldn’t overcome 27 turnovers. They also missed 11 of their first 12 shots from the field.
Isler acknowledged when the outside shots aren’t going, it’s nice to have a player like Brown who can dominate with her athleticism.
“She’s just an all-around great player,” Isler said. “She can do anything. Antiesha can always pick up everyone’s slack.”
Ever the perfectionist, Reed agreed his team’s fullcourt pressure overwhelmed Alamo early and allowed the Lady Cats to take control.
“Our defensive pressure really hurt them,” he said. “We forced a lot of turnovers and were able to get some easy baskets.”
It was only the fourth home game for Clovis, which won its holiday tournament in late December. The Lady Cats play seven of their next nine at The Rock.
“Our goal is to go undefeated at home,” Reed said. “We want to take it one game at a time, though — all we have to do is go for 1-0 today.”
Senior post Brandi Tanner was Alamo’s lone double-figure scorer, finishing with 15 points.