Suffice it to say, the anticipated showdown never materialized.
Guards Niki Cordova and Danni Williams hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second quarter Friday night and the Class 5A top-ranked Clovis Lady Wildcats took off from there in a 45-25 thumping of third-ranked Hobbs in District 4-5A girls play at Rock Staubus Gym.
Williams finished with 17 points and the Lady Wildcats (21-1, 1-0 district) avenged their only loss of the season, a 50-44 setback to Hobbs (20-4, 1-1) in Rio Rancho’s Mel Otero Invite in mid-December.
After a back-and-forth start, the 3-pointers sent the Lady Cats to a 15-9 lead, and they never looked back.
“I didn’t expect it,” CHS coach Jeff Reed said of the lopsided final. “I expected it to be a dogfight to the end.”
The teams traded the lead throughout the first quarter, but Clovis held the Lady Eagles to just seven points over the middle two periods and led by 25 late in the game.
Junior post Danielle Patterson finished with 10 points for Hobbs, getting five of them in the final minute.
Hobbs had trouble handling Clovis’ halfcourt traps, and when the Lady Eagles got the ball into the forecourt, they were tentative in attacking the defense. Hobbs finished 9-for-36 from the floor and committed 21 turnovers.
“A lot of it was their defense,” Hobbs coach Johnny Casaus said. “We didn’t really turn the ball over that much, but we didn’t attack it that well. But give them credit — they’re long and athletic.”
Casaus said the consecutive 3-pointers were the turning point.
“I thought we were OK until then,” he said. “Then the wheels started falling off.”
The Lady Cats outscored Hobbs 17-5 in the second period to extend their lead to 25-12 at the half. They didn’t shoot particularly well in the half, but offset that a bit by committing just four turnovers.
Any hopes of a Lady Eagles comeback were quickly dashed when play resumed as Clovis held them to just one field goal in the third quarter.
Williams admitted it took her a while to settled into the game.
“Last night I couldn’t sleep,” she said. “I was still nervous (at the start of the game), but when I hit that 3, I was good.”
The teams meet again in two weeks, this time at Hobbs.
“I told the girls, ‘OK, that’s the easy one,’” Reed said. “It just gets tougher from here.”
Williams had a rough one at Hobbs last year as a freshman, being held scoreless in the Lady Eagles’ 44-40 win.
“Playing in Hobbs is definitely tough, but this time we’ll know what to expect,” she said. “I think I’ve matured a little bit from last year, and we’re playing better as a team.”