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Clovis girls edge Buchanan in TRAC Showdown

The Cougars hold off the Bears as Avery Evans records a double double with 14 points and 11 rebounds as Clovis improves to 16-4 on the season and 2-0 in league.

Buchanan senior Morgan Mathis dribbles up court in the Bears’ 45-43 loss to Clovis. Buchanan falls to 14-6 overall and 1-1 in league. (PHOTO BY RANDI STEELE)

CLOVIS — Welcome to the Tri-River Athletic Conference, where points are at a premium every single night. 

Clovis and Buchanan both held each other well-below their season averages in points scored, but it was the Cougars who pulled out the timely stops to edge the Bears 45-43. 

After the game, Clovis head coach Greg Clark referred to the TRAC as the best public league in the state. That was certainly on display in his team’s grind-it-out performance.

“With three teams ranked inside the Top 25, every single night is like this,” Clark said. “It doesn’t matter if we are home or away, we have to be prepared.”

The Cougars answered the bell time and time again in a fourth quarter that saw six lead changes. First, it was senior Avery Evans putting Clovis up 39-38 on a layup with 3:51 left in regulation. 

Evans, who Clark praised afterwards, finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds: “Avery needs to help us on the boards. She’s our tallest player who plays a ton of minutes. She knows that she’s got to carry more of the burden for us.”

Buchanan’s Sara Snider was the spark plug for the Bears, finishing with a team-high 13 points, including three 3-pointers. However, it was her clutch free throws, with the entire crowd banging their feet against the bleachers, that gave Buchanan a 1-point lead with 3:44 to play. 

Clovis needed another answer in a high pressure situation. 

This time, it was Kelsey Delgado—hitting her second three pointer of the game.

“That’s something I discussed with the girls after,” Clark said, referring to the championship atmosphere. “They have to start getting used to this because every game could be tight.”

With a 43-41 lead and about a minute to play, Megan Esler beat her defender off the dribble—finishing at the rim with her right hand to give Clovis a two-possession lead. Delgado iced the game by taking a charge on Buchanan’s ensuing offensive possession. 

Esler finished with 11 points and four rebounds.

Buchanan’s swarming defense made it tough on Clovis all night which took the Cougars out of their game plan.

“Buchanan plays an aggressive defense and they’re well-coached,” Clark said as his Cougars improved to 16-4 overall and 2-0 in league. “We knew it was going to be tough to score and their pressure bothered us.”

Clovis will host the state’s No. 15 team Clovis North on Friday night

Buchanan, now 14-6 overall and 1-1 in TRAC, will head to Central.

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