Clovis High’s Tori Northcutt collides with Carlsbad’s Jordan Neatherlin as they go for the ball during Tuesdsay’s game at Rock Staubus Gym. The Lady Wildcats posted a 57-42 win in the District 4-5A contest. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer
The potential for greatness is there for the Clovis Lady Wildcats, according to coach Miles Watters. To fulfill it, he says they just need to overcome their enemies from within.
The Lady Cats were victorious over their scheduled enemy, beating Carlsbad 57-42 Tuesday night at Rock Staubus Gym. Clovis is now a win away from the No. 1 seed in the District 4-5A tournament.
Senior Tori Northcutt scored 20 points and junior Ebony Bunton added 11 points and eight assists for Clovis (17-5, 3-0 district), which has won nine in a row since losses to Mayfield and Canyon in early January.
Still, the Lady Cats struggled from the outset to create any offensive rhythm.
Watters funneled the game down to several times when Clovis was at its best, but he said the Lady Cats gambled too much on post defense.
“We had about three spurts when we played well in a 32-minute game,” Watters said. “It was enough to stretch the lead, but this bunch is better than that. We were just making some silly gamble plays.
“If you don’t come up with it on a gamble play, you’re left out to dry.”
Sophomore Vianca Villegas dominated the paint with a game-high 21 points for Carlsbad (5-16, 0-4), including all 12 of the Cavegirls’ points in the third quarter.
Clovis took its biggest lead with under two minutes left after junior Kanisha Beachum grabbed her own missed shot and put it back fto make it 53-35.
“It was just a bad game for us, but we just worked as a team and pulled it together like always,” sophomore Mariah Sena said. “We just kept letting them get it in the post a lot.”
The Cavegirls cut Clovis’ 22-13 halftime lead to 32-29 early in the fourth quarter after Villegas sank two straight layups.
The Lady Cats responded with a 21-6 run, kickstarted by layups from junior Jasmine McDonald and Bunton off feeds from Northcutt.
Carlsbad coach Ron Egan said his team’s effort was there, but turnovers and Clovis’ talent led to the loss.
“Clovis does so many good things and they’re such great athletes,” Egan said. “It’s hard to play with them for 32 minutes.”