CLOVIS 60, LA CUEVA 52:
RIO RANCHO — Clovis showed why it is the top seed in 5A with a grinding 60-52 victory over No. 5 La Cueva in a semifinal game at the Star Center on Thursday afternoon.
Sophomore post Shelby Jones was dominant inside for Clovis, particularly in the fourth quarter when she scored nine of her game-high 21 points.
“We shot like junk and I told the girls don’t settle for the outside stuff, let’s work it in side, let’s take it to them, attack-attack-attack,” Clovis coach Jeff Reed said. “Shelby was able to finish inside for us today.”
Jones added 13 rebounds, nine of them offensive.
“I wasn’t going to let anyone stop me,” Jones said. “I wasn’t going to be denied.”
The Wildcats (29-2) led throughout the second half, though the Bears (24-5) always kept it close.
La Cueva’s best chance came with under 6 minutes to go. Symone Green made a layup to cut the Clovis lead to 45-43.
The Wildcats were then whistled for a five-second call, giving the Bears a chance to tie it up, but Shayla Malecki missed a contested short jumper.
Clovis would miss its next shot, but La Cueva then turned the ball over, one of 18 on the day. Carrie Sharp made a layup to push the lead to 47-43, only to see Alyssa Yocky counter with a layup.
Jenna Sievers drew a foul from Malecki and made both free throws. The Wildcats forced another turnover and Sharp made a layup to expand the lead to 51-45.
“They kept it at two, four, every time we’d get a chance to tie, we’d turn it over or miss a shot,” Bears coach Robert Perea said.
Alexa Romano, who led La Cueva with 19 points, hit a 3-pointer to pull the Bears within 55-50 with under one minute to play, but Jones converted a three-point play at the other end to ice the Wildcats’ victory.
CLOVIS 60, LA CUEVA 52
LA CUEVA (24-5): Alexa Romano 19, Shayla Malecki 4, Alyssa Yocky 7, Marissa Dobrot 4, Anne Fox 7, Symone Green 8, Hannah Hawash 3. Totals 18-45 13-16 52.
CLOVIS (29-2): Brandi Gomez 6, Danni Williams 8, Niki Cordova 9, Carrie Sharp 8, Shelby Jones 21, Jenna Sievers 8. Totals 20-49 19-21 60.
La Cueva 11 11 14 16—52
Clovis 10 13 16 21—60
bLC 3 (Romano 3); C 1 (Cordova). Total fouls: LC 17; C 14. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: LC 24 (Yocky 5); C 31 (Jones 13). Assists: LC 8 (Malecki 3, Dobrot 3); C 9 (Cordova 3). Turnovers: LC 18; C 15.