By Dave Wagner
Two key members of the Clovis High girls basketball team will continue their careers next season at the junior college level.
Point guard Chelo McElrath recently signed a letter of intent to play at Clarendon (Texas) College, while forward Lisa Taylor will ply her skills at Cochise College in Douglas, Ariz.
Both were two-year starters for the Lady Wildcats under coach Miles Watters, helping the team to a 35-18 record during that time.
“This is a great opportunity for these girls to further their educations and participate in a sport they love,” Watters said. “I’m excited for them, and I know they’re thrilled about the opportunity. They’ve both spent a lot of time on it, and it’s a nice reward for both of them.”
The diminutive (5-foot-1) McElrath burst onto the varsity scene as a sophomore, using her ball-handling skills to break down opponents’ pressure and giving the Lady Cats solid play at the point.
Watters said her average of 6.2 assists this season was second all-time at CHS, and she also led the team with more than three steals per game.
McElrath said she would compete for the point guard position at Clarendon College with a couple of incoming freshmen.
“The point guard they had last year is graduating,” she said. “I’m excited. It’s going to be a big change, but it’s going to be a good change.”
McElrath said she visited the school in late April after Watters had talked with Clarendon coach Scott Wade. Hobbs High graduate Shayla Lacey, a freshman at Clarendon this year, showed her around campus.
“I got to play with the team and look at the campus,” she said of her visit. “(Coach Wade) said he’d give me the weekend to think about it, but I liked it.”
Clarendon, located about 45 miles southeast of Amarillo, is a town of only about 2,000 residents. But McElrath said she’s comfortable with the size of the college.
She plans to work on her conditioning and her shot over the summer. “He (Wade) wants me to get more offensive-minded,” McElrath said.
Taylor averaged about 13 points this season for the Lady Cats after making her presence felt immediately as a junior, particularly with her 3-point shooting ability.
She said she played in a “shootout” in Las Cruces this spring in which several college scouts were on hand.
“The Cochise coach (Steve Lane) was the one who seemed like he was most interested in me,” Taylor said. “I went down there and took a visit and liked everything about it.”
Douglas is a town of about 10,000 in the southeast corner of Arizona. Taylor said the school is located about a 10-minute drive outside the city limits.
Former CHS guard Kerwin Nance has spent the past two years in the Cochise men’s basketball program.
The 5-foot-8 Taylor said she thinks she will get a chance to have an immediate impact.
“Right now, he (Coach Lane) said he’s looking for post players and players who can rebound,” she said. “I think I’ll probably be doing about the same kind of things I was doing here.”