LEVELLAND, Texas — For most of the game Tuesday night, the Clovis High girls’ 36-game winning streak seemed safe.
Clovis’ lead stayed seven to 11 points from early in the second quarter until the final minute. However, Levelland rallied late, tying the game on a desperation 3-pointer from just short of halfcourt by Tana Lockett, then hitting 9-of-10 free throws in overtime to stun the Lady Wildcats 45-40.
The Lady Cats (6-1) had won 44 of their previous 45 games, losing only to Las Cruces Mayfield in the 2004 Class 5A state finals. They beat the Lady Trojans 49-46 last March for the state title in a battle of unbeatens, and were coming off a 65-40 pasting of Mayfield on Saturday in the finals of the Mel Otero Invite at Rio Rancho.
“We were a little hung over from the weekend,” CHS girls coach Miles Watters said. “We were out of emotion, and I didn’t think we came in focused.”
Still, he said much of the credit goes to the Class 3A Loboettes (11-3).
“They did what they needed to,” Watters said. “Sometimes it takes a little luck to win, and they were lucky (at the end). We just weren’t quite focused enough tonight.”
Lockett finished with 13 points for Levelland, while Erin Meghein added 10. Monique Green, who finished with nine points, was 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the overtime and Lockett added 2-of-2.
Senior guard Tori Quintana and senior post Brittany Blackmon paced the Lady Cats with 11 points apiece, followed by senior forward Aimee Hilburn with 10.
Carla Wade’s last-second 3-pointer pulled the Loboettes to 9-7 at the end of the first quarter, but Clovis opened the second stanza with 11 unanswered points in less than three minutes — including consecutive 3-pointers by Quintana and junior Tori Northcutt — for a 20-7 cushion.
Levelland never got closer than seven points until the final minute, when Adrienne Villareal’s 3-pointer made it 36-31.
Clovis missed the front end of three 1-and-1s in the final minute, but appeared to have survived when a pass got past Lockett in the final seconds and rolled near midcourt.
But she ran it down, and her desperation heave found the mark as time expired.
“We had the play defended well,” Watters said. “But we just made too many mistakes down the stretch.”
Levelland dominated the overtime. Green hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 2:17 left, and the Loboettes never relinquished the lead.
“It’s a learning experience for us,” Watters summed up. “Hopefully, we learned something from this.”