Clovis High junior Ebony Bunton tries to avoid defensive pressure from Hobbs’ Stacey Sigala during the Lady Cats late 52-48 victory (Hobbs News-Sun: Timothy Rios)
HOBBS — The Clovis High girls are the District 4-5A regular-season champions again, but it didn’t come without a struggle.
Junior guard Ebony Bunton scored a career-best 28 points and keyed a 9-0 run over the last two minutes as the Lady Wildcats overhauled Hobbs 52-48 Friday night.
The Lady Cats (18-5, 4-0) won their 10th consecutive game and earned a bye into the district tournament championship, which they will host at 7 p.m. next Saturday at Rock Staubus Gym.
Hobbs (15-11, 2-2) and Carlsbad will play at 7 p.m. Thursday in Hobbs for the right to advance to the title matchup.
With Clovis leading 49-48, freshman Antiesha Brown defended a shot by Hobbs’ Lasanda Franklin and pulled the rebound. She got the ball ahead to Bunton, who was fouled on a 3-pointer with four seconds left. She made all three shots for the final margin.
“I’m extremely proud of how hard we played,” CHS girls coach Miles Watters said. “It looked like we were down and out, but to battle back and win says a lot about the character of this team.”
Bunton scored nine of Clovis’ 11 fourth-quarter points.
“Bunton kind of loaded us up on her shoulders the last couple of minutes,” Watters said. “She was pretty determined we weren’t going to get beat.”
Senior guard Tori Northcutt added three 3-pointers and 17 points for the Lady Cats. Hobbs got 14 points from Franklin and senior guard Alesha Jackson, while senior point guard Selena Flores added 10.
Clovis dominated the game early, rolling to a 19-10 lead at the quarter as Bunton and Northcutt combined to go 4-for-4 from 3-point range. They extended the margin to 32-21 at halftime.
But the Lady Eagles forced Clovis into some turnovers in the third period, and began to close down the margin.
“We shot the ball really well in the first half,” Watters said. “We knew they would make a run. We cooled off and they began to come back.
“From there on, it was a dogfight.”
Watters praised Brown’s work on the boards and said junior post Jasmine McDonald was solid on post defense, especially early.
“She really gave us a big lift that first half,” Watters said of McDonald. “She really slowed down their post play.”