Clovis AAU squad reaches bracket play

CNJ STAFF

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — After four close games, the Clovis Lady Wildcats closed out pool play in the AAU national girls 15-and-under tournament on Monday with a 66-36 rout of the Florida Green Wave.

The Lady Wildcats finished in a three-way tie for first place in their pool at 4-1. They advanced to bracket play as the pool’s second seed on a points tiebreaker, beating out the New Hampshire Stars but finishing behind the Dallas Storm.

The team faces the Concord Blazers, from North Carolina, in its first game of single-elimination bracket play at 10 a.m. (MDT) today.

“They’re quick,” Clovis coach Regina Downing said of the Blazers. “They’ve got two guards they rely on for a lot of things.”

Aimee Hilburn, who will be a junior at Clovis High in the fall, scored 22 points in the win over the Clearwater-based Green Wave. Fellow CHS players Brittany Blackmon and Tori Northcutt added 12 and 11, respectively.

“We isolated Aimee on the wing,” Downing said. “They’re big, but she was quick enough that she could get to the basket against them.”

The Lady Wildcats opened play on Saturday with a 64-57 win over the New Hampshire Stars and a 66-55 loss to the Dallas Storm. On Sunday, they beat the Georgia Hot Shots 68-56 and Pennsylvania Jam On It 65-56.

“Today (Monday) was a good game for us,” Downing said. “We had a tough pool, but the kids did a really good job.

“Florida Green Wave’s kids were big, but we utilized our quickness. Our pressure is what got them. They couldn’t handle our halfcourt trap, and we took them out of the game early.”

Clovis has put at least three players in double figures in every game so far except one — the win over the Georgia Hot Shots in which Blackmon scored 26 points and Hilburn added 11.

Against Jam On It, Blackmon finished with 23 points, Hilburn had 17 and Clarissa Crum of Los Lunas scored 12.

In Saturday’s action, Marshall freshman Ebony Bunton led a balanced attack against New Hampshire with 14 points, followed by Blackmon with 13 and Northcutt and Hilburn with 10 apiece. In the loss to the Storm, Albuquerque Sandia product Kendra Coval scored 15 points for the Lady Wildcats, followed by Blackmon with 14 and Hilburn with 11.