Lady Cats: Different year, different team

Rick White

Something has to give tonight when Clovis meets Hobbs.

The Lady Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in the state, riding a 13-game winning streak into tonight’s District 4-5A first-place showdown at Ralph Tasker Arena. But Hobbs has beaten Clovis six straight in a series the Lady Wildcats once dominated.

The games have been close, but Hobbs always found a way to win.

Clovis coach Miles Watters doesn’t think his team’s inability to beat Hobbs the last two seasons will be a factor.
Watters said his star sophomore trio of Tori Quintana, Aimee Hilburn and Brittany Blackmon don’t worry about who they’re playing.

“These sophomores, they just like to line up and play,” Watters said. “The rest of the team realize it’s a brand new year and a brand new team.

“The biggest factor is not trying to do too much. Sometimes when you play a team like Hobbs, you have a tendency to try to do too much. As long as they don’t try to do more than we ask, we should be all right.”

Senior post Jessica Hohn said the Lady Wildcats (19-2, 3-0 district) aren’t dwelling on their recent woes against Hobbs.
“We’re just treating this like any other game,” said Hohn, who started the last two years but comes off the bench this season.

Hohn is giving Clovis quality minutes with her defense and rebounding, Watters said.

“Jessica is probably playing better basketball right now than she ever had,” Watters said. “She’s playing strong and more aggressive around the basket.”

Hobbs (15-6, 3-0) returns three senior starters from last year’s state title team; post Ty Como and guards Jessica Nelson and Lezlie Varner. Sophomore Ashley Jackson is also a factor inside.

Clovis counters with a strong inside game of its own with sophomore Brittany Blackmon and seniors Hohn and Monique Walker. Blackmon and Walker combine for 25.4 points and 13.6 rebounds a game.

Keeping Hobbs off the offensive glass is one of the keys to the game, Watters said.

“That’s still one of their strengths. They throw it up there and really go after it and they do a great job of bodying up and blocking out.”

Hobbs coach Johnny Casaus could not be reached for comment.

Game day
Clovis (19-2, 3-0)
at Hobbs (15-6, 3-0)
7:45 p.m. tonight
Where: Ralph Tasker Arena
Radio: KKYC 102.3 FM
At state: Sole possession of first place in District 4-5A.
Last time out: Hobbs routed Manzano 78-32. Clovis beat Carlsbad 53-28.
Last meeting: Hobbs beat Clovis 64-61 on March 1, 2003, in the 4-5A tournament title game.
Keys to the game: Clovis needs to keep Hobbs off the offensive boards. Hobbs has struggled with turnovers, especially when they have to go to the bench.
Hobbs player to watch: Sr. W Jessica Nelson, Sr. P Ty Como
Notes:Leslie VarnerAdrienne Ross, now playing at nationally ranked Texas Christian. … Clovis sophomore P Brittany Blackmon ranks eighth in the state in scoring (14.1) and seventh in rebounding (7.2). Sophomore PG Tori Quintana is third in assists (5.7).
Quotable: “We’re going to pick and chose when we press. They’re guards are a little suspect, especially when they substitute.” — Clovis coach Miles Watters.