Lady Cats face Gallup in 5A semifinals

Clovis High senior Brittany Blackmon goes up for a shot in traffic during the Lady Wildcats’ 55-38 win over La Cueva in Tuesday’s Class 5A state quarterfinal matchup at The Pit. (CNJ staff photo: Jesse Wolfersberger)

By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ sports writer

ALBUQUERQUE — Gallup coach John Lemasney said he is eager to get a shot to knock off the top-seeded Clovis Lady Wildcats.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I hate to be on the same side of the bracket as I’m sure Miles (Watters) hates to be on the same side of the bracket as me.”

Clovis (27-2) will face the Lady Bengals, the five seed, in the Class 5A semifinals at 1:15 today at The Pit in Albuquerque.
Watters watched the Lady Bengals (24-5) dismantle Hobbs 49-34 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

“They are every bit as good as I’d thought they’d be,” he said. “They are a quality team. You can see what happens when if they get a lead they’ll really spread ya and take care of the basketball.”

Gallup’s 6-foot-5 center Valerie Kast presents a matchup problem for the Lady Cats, whose tallest player is 6-foot Aimee Hilburn.

“The big girl is just hard to defend,” Watters said. “And, hey, even when she’s out, they made their big run on Hobbs while she was sitting. Hopefully we’ll create some matchup problems as well.”

Lemasney said the game’s tempo is his biggest concern heading into today’s game.

“We can’t let them get into a running game against us,” Lemasney said. “We have cut it into a half court game. I think we match up good with them and I look forward to a great ballgame (today).”

When asked if he thought he could impose a slower tempo onto the Lady Cats, Lemasney pointed to a four-point loss to Clovis in last year’s state tournament.

“Well, we did it last year,” he said. “And we’re a little better at it than we were last year. So, yeah.”