First-year Clovis High girls basketball coach Jeff Reed doesn’t plan to be a miracle-worker. He does hope, though, to see steady improvement this season from the Lady Wildcats.
Reed, a 1992 CHS graduate, begins his run at the helm on Tuesday when Clovis travels to Portales.
The Lady Cats are coming off a rare losing season (12-17) in which they lost at Rio Rancho in a round-of-16 Class 5A state tournament contest.
He replaces Miles Watters, who stepped aside after eight seasons that included an unbeaten 5A state title in 2005.
“I think it’s going to be a slow process,” said Reed, who is coaching girls for the first time. “I hope I’m surprised and we do well right from the beginning.
“But when it’s all said and done, I think we’ll be right in the thick of things.”
The Lady Cats return three regulars from last year’s squad in senior post Antiesha Brown, senior guard-forward Brittany Johnson and senior guard Jadee Isler.
Brown averaged around 12 points and six rebounds last season, while Johnson and Isler were both around six points.
“We’re excited with coach Reed,” Johnson said. “He brings a lot of enthusiasm. We’ve had long, tough practices and we’ve gone through a good weight program.”
That weight work, Reed said, should pay dividends over the course of a long season.
“I think it’ll help us in the long run,” he said. “I want us to be able to finish games. I noticed during the summer that we’d be in games and then get beat in the second half.”
Brown will be counted on to carry a significant load.
“We’re expecting her to be able to score a lot,” Reed said. “She’ll be one of the best athletes on the court.”
Johnson said the Lady Cats should be a solid defensive team this season.
“Defense is going to be our main thing,” she said. “We’re hoping to play a faster-paced game this year. We’re going to try different stuff, and I think that’ll throw (opponents) off a little.”
Other inside help could come from seniors Tiffany Nichols and Natasha Beachum, junior Jordan Lott and sophomore Ashlee Pierson. Nichols, who saw limited varsity duty last season, is currently out with a knee injury and probably won’t be back until around Christmas.
Reed said Johnson and junior Katharine Reed will be swing players. Isler and fellow senior Leia Willis could play either at the point or on a wing, as could junior Shaniqua Jackson.
Juniors Amanda Romero and Alicia Viscaino are competing for time at the off-guard slots and, with Lott, will split time between the varsity and junior varsity.
Reed expects Brown, Isler and Johnson to start, with Cordova, Willis and Beachum also candidates. Nichols will be in the mix when she returns.
“I think one of the big keys for us is to handle the ball,” he said. “That was one of our major problems last year.
“We have a lot of girls that are untested on the varsity level.”
Reed said there doesn’t appear to be a dominant team in 5A at this time, but he knows the Lady Cats have work to do.
“For us to be in that upper echelon, we’ll have to have some people step up for us and go to another level,” he said.
No. Name Ht. Pos. Yr.
3 Leia Willis 5-7 G Sr.
4 Shnikwa Jackson 5-4 G Jr.
11 Alicia Viscaino 5-8 G Jr.
12 Jadee Isler 5-9 P Sr.
14 Antiesha Brown 5-10 P Sr.
15 Ashlee Pierson 5-7 G/P So.
22 Brittany Johnson 5-9 G/P Sr.
23 Katharine Cordova 5-4 G Jr.
30 Amanda Romoero 5-5 G Jr.
33 Jordyn Lott 5-11 P Jr.
34 Tiffany Nichols 5-10 P Sr.
41 Natasha Beachum 5-5 P Sr.
Coach: Jeff Reed (1st year). Assistants: Regina Downing, Miguel Ramirez, Tonya Mirabal.
25 — at Portales, 7 p.m.
4-6 — at Gallup tournament, TBA; 11-13 — at Rio Rancho tournament, TBA; 19 — at Moriarty, 7 p.m.; 29-31 — Plateau Holiday Classic (29 vs. Valley, 6 p.m.).
3 — at Mayfield, 4:30 p.m.; 6 — at Canyon, 5:30 p.m.; 9-10 — at Portales Shootout, TBA; 17 — Alamogordo, 6:30 p.m.; 20 — Portales, 5 p.m.; 23-24 — Milk Cow Classic, TBA; 30 — at Artesia, 7 p.m.; 31 — Roswell Goddard, 7 p.m.
6 — Hobbs, 7 p.m.-x; 10 — at Carlsbad, 7 p.m.-x; 13 — Roswell High, 7 p.m.; 17 — Carlsbad, 7 p.m.-x; 20 — at Hobbs, 7 p.m.-x.
All times MST. x-Denotes District 4-5A games.