Lady Cats ride defense past Hereford

Clovis sophomore Aimee Hilburn goes hard to the hold during Tuesday’s game in Hereford. Hilburn finished with five points. Photo by Rick White

By Rick White

HEREFORD — There have been two constants this season for the Clovis Lady Wildcats.

Sophomore point guard Tori Quintana is carrying the offense with her 3-point shooting and the Lady Wildcats are playing good defense.

Quintana hit four of her five 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 19 points and the Lady Wildcats played suffocating defense down the stretch Tuesday en route to a 49-34 win over Hereford.

Energetic sophomore Brittany Blackmon added 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Lady Wildcats improved to 2-0.

Senior post Carlie Henson supplied most of the offense for Hereford (2-1), snaking her way in and around the lane for 18 points.

With four new starters, Clovis looks about as comfortable on offense as Snoop Dog dancing a polka. But the offense will come, Clovis coach Miles Watters said.

“They did a good job of doubling our posts and we couldn’t hit any outside shots,” Watters said. “Tori started to hit a few shots in the second half and that kind of loosened them up.”

‘We have a lot of tools. I just have to figure out how to use them,” Watters said.

Watters thinks the Lady Wildcats are pressing on offense, especially sophomore 5-foot-11 sophomore standout Aimee Hilburn, who is making the transition from post to wing.

“We’ve got her playing in a different spot,” he said. “She does so many things well; passing, rebounding. She’s got a great all-around game. The scoring will come.”

Hilburn finished with five points, including a three-point play off a steal by Roxanne Luera that gave Clovis a 42-33 lead with three minutes left after Hereford had sliced a double-digit lead in half.

“I finally got one to go,” said Hilburn, who missed a couple of bunnies earlier.

“We just have to slow things down,” Hilburn said of the Lady Wildcats’ schizophrenic offensive play. “Especially me.”

Luera was a defensive catalyst for the Lady Wildcats, deflecting at least a half-dozen Hereford passes as Clovis picked up the pressure as the second half wore on.

“I haven’t done a good job on defense lately,” Luera said. “I finally got my hands on a few balls.”

Watters called a timeout midway through the third quarter and challenged his team.

“I told them that I don’t care if we win or lose the game, we’re going to learn how to play man-to-man defense.

“And the good thing was that we got tougher as the game wore on.”

The Lady Wildcats held Hereford to a point over the final 3:41 of the game.

After a frantic first quarter, Clovis took the lead for good at 15-13 on Hilburn’s free-throw jumper. Monqiue Walker’s fastbreak bucket on a feed from Quintana and Blackmon’s two-footer made it 19-13 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.
But Clovis got sloppy with the ball, allowing Hereford to creep within 20-17 at halftime.