Clovis coach Miles Watters led the Lady Wildcats to a school-record 27 wins. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth..
By Rick White
Ironically, two attributes Clovis coach Miles Watters considered strengths of his record-breaking team might have cost the Lady Wildcats in voting for all-district honors.
The Lady Wildcats, the District 4-5A regular season co-champions and tournament champions, landed three players on the first team, but a pair of Hobbs players earned top individual honors.
Senior Jessica Nelson edged Clovis sophomore Aimee Hilburn for player of the year while sophomore Ashley Jackson beat out another Lady Wildcats sophomore, Brittany Blackmon, for newcomer of the year.
Sophomore point guard Tori Quintana was the third Lady Cat to earn first-team honors.
“It’s nice to have individual accomplishments,” said Watters, selected the 4-5A coach of the year. “But I know these guys would trade it for a team title.”
Clovis, which reached the Class 5A state title game, set several school records, including most wins, most 3-pointers and most assists.
Four Lady Wildcats starters averaged at least nine points and three averaged better than five rebounds a game for the Lady Wildcats.
“I’d rather be deep like we are than have to rely on one player,” Watters said.
In her second season on varsity, Hilburn, a 5-foot-11 forward, averaged 12.5 points, 5.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds a game.
Quintana, a 5-7 point guard who shattered the school record for 3-pointers in a season with 70, averaged 10.1 points and a team-high 6.1 assists while the 5-10 Blackmon led the team in scoring (14.6) and rebounds (7.6).
Watters said the Lady Wildcats, who finished the season 27-4, shattered the school record for assists.
“They were all unselfish,” Watters said. “They could have all padded their stats. But this team was unbelievably unselfish.”
Nelson, a 5-9 forward, was the district’s leading scorer at 15 points a game while Jackson averaged about 12 points and seven rebounds a game for Hobbs, which tied Clovis for the regular-season title.
Eldorado senior guard Caitlin Demarest and Carlsbad senior post Rene Hellebust rounded out the seven-member first team.
Senior post Monique Walker was a second-team selection while senior Jessica Hohn, junior Melissa Roberts and freshman Tori Northcutt earned honorable mention for the Lady Wildcats.
Jessica Nelson, Sr., Hobbs; Aimee Hilburn, So., Clovis; Caitlin Demerest, Sr., Eldorado; Tori Quintana, So., Clovis; Anne Hellebust, Sr., Carlsbad; Ashley Jackson, So., Hobbs; Brittany Blackmon, So., Clovis.
Meagan Hines, Sr., Eldorado; Satrina Clayton, So., Manzano; Monique Walker, Sr., Clovis; Ty Como, Sr., Hobbs; Leslie Varner, Sr., Hobbs; Jackie Konitzer, Jr., Eldorado; Kayla Jarnagan, Jr. Carlsbad.
Carolyn Smith, Jr. Carlsbad; Jessica Hohn, Sr. Clovis; Tori Northcutt, Fr., Clovis; Melissa Roberts, Jr., Clovis; Latoya Nixon, Sr., Manzano; Galdys Clear, Sr., Manzano; Emily Holmes. So., Hobbs; Chantelle Hinojos, Jr. Hobbs.
Player of the Year — Nelson, Hobbs
Newcomer of the Year — Jackson, Hobbs
Coach of the Year — Miles Watters, Clovis