Clovis Lady Wildcats junior Tori Quintana dishes a pass to a wide open teammate during Monday’s win over Frenship in Clovis. (CNJ staff photo: Mike Linn)
By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer
The Frenship Tigers had the size advantage over Clovis on Monday night, but that didn’t seem to bother Brittany Blackmon. The Lady Cats junior post scored a career-high 32 points and pulled down nine rebounds as Clovis crushed Frenship 68-46 in Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
The Wolfforth, Texas, school is ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, and has five players 6-foot or taller, compared to none for Clovis, but the Lady Cats dominated play in the paint, especially in the first half.
“We’re not exceptionally big, but our kids play really big,” Clovis coach Miles Watters said.
Clovis consistently fed the ball into Blackmon and fellow junior post Aimee Blackburn, who then went over and through the Frenship post for point-blank shots. Hilburn finished with 14 points and eight rebounds as the Lady Cats (8-0) stayed unbeaten.
“We sure do appreciated it when they get us the ball,” Hilburn said.
Clovis held a 20-11 rebounding advantage. Frenship (12-4) rarely had any second-chance opportunities off the glass, and most came in the second half.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 6-4 or 5-6, we’re going to come after you the same way,” Hilburn said.
Frenship was hurt by early foul trouble to 6-foot post players Erica Knight and Simone Jackson.
“It’s hard to play a game when you don’t have an inside presence,” Frenship coach Terry Lowrey said.
Clovis took advantage of its inside dominance to build a 32-14 halftime lead.
“Clovis beat us, plain and simple, in every aspect,” Lowrey said. “They physically played harder. It was good for our kids to experience.”
Frenship also committed 22 turnovers with the Lady Cats hounding them all night. Clovis had clean steals off the dribble, forced five-second calls and tipped Tiger passes. Frenship only had 13 field goals. Blackmon had 15.
“We probably played 26 minutes (out of 32) of great defense,” Watters said.
Monday’s game was the fourth in five days for Clovis after they won the Rio Rancho tournament on Saturday. Players and coaches said playing at home initially offset fatigue; Watters said it cut into Clovis’ performance in the second half, especially on defense.
“I know I was pretty tired. My legs were numb. I couldn’t feel them in the second half,” Hilburn said.
In the fourth quarter Frenship cut a 22-point lead to 50-34 with five minutes remaining.
However, Lady Cats junior point guard Tori Quintana crushed any inkling of a comeback hope, nailing a 3-pointer from the corner to push the lead back up to 19. That was part of an 11-2 run to put the game away.
The Tigers will have a chance for payback Jan. 4 in Texas.
“We just embarrassed a very good team and their pride will rise when we play them at their place,” Watters said.