Clovis squad knocked out of nationals

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Clovis Lady Wildcats were eliminated from national AAU 15-and-under girls basketball competition Tuesday, falling to the Concord Blazers 78-67 in the second round of bracket play.
The Lady Wildcats, who had a first-round bye in bracket play, finished 4-2 for the tournament after winning four of their five games in pool play.
Brittany Blackmon led the Lady Wildcats with 15 points, followed by Clarissa Crum with 13 points and Aimee Hilburn with 11. Blackmon and Hilburn will be juniors this fall at Clovis High, while Crum attends Los Lunas High.
Tori Northcutt added seven points, and Portales’ Morgan Hill and Albuquerque Sandia’s Kendra Coval each scored six. Rounding out the scoring were Ebony Bunton with five points and Jessica Russell and Vanessa O’Neal with two apiece.
“We just turned the ball over early and dug ourselves a hole,” Lady Wildcats coach Regina Downing said. “We should have won this game. Our pool was stronger competition than we played today.”
Downing said the Greensboro, N.C.-based Blazers were not that big, but relied on their quickness. Their defense forced the Clovis squad into mistakes.
The Lady Wildcats trailed most of the way, but cut a 16-point deficit to three with about seven minutes left, Downing said.
“Then we came down the court and made three crucial turnovers,” she said. “We gave up nine points on three consecutive 3-point plays.”
Downing said most of the team is scheduled to return to New Mexico today, although she and a couple of others plan to stay in the Carolinas for a few days to visit relatives.