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Eads’ Lexi Shotton (#11) and Wiley’s Rachel Kopasz (#32) battle to posses a loose ball during a physical girls’ contest in Eads on Saturday night. The Eagles grabbed the win 36-23.
Buller Photography

McClave Girls Stay Perfect in 1A in a 44-22 Win over Eads

By Betsy Barnett

February 8, 2023

The undefeated McClave Lady Cardinals (13-0) had just one opponent over the weekend when they welcomed the Eads Eagles (7-7) to the Cardinal Nest. McClave used a smothering defense to jump out to a 17-5 first quarter lead to eventually win the conference contest, 44-23.

Eads then bounced back on Saturday night when Wiley (5-10) came to the Eads gym defeating the Lady Panthers in a roughly paid contest, 36-23.

Eads head coach Trey Eder had a lot to say about the weekend, “It was a big weekend of basketball for Eads. On Friday we faced a highly ranked McClave team whose smothering defense proved to be too much. Going into the game I felt that if we could handle the full court defense early and not give McClave easy baskets on turnovers we had a chance to stay in the game.”

Eder went on to say, “I feel McClave thrives on fast starts and good first quarters and that’s what they did against us. I knew we needed to be able to get them into halfcourt offense and let the strength of our defense slow them down. But we turned the ball over 29 times and that created easy lay ups for them to break the game open. When we were able to make buckets and play defense, we looked good and felt like we could hang. Games like that are good to see where you are at and really show the girls the things that we have to continue to work on and take the jump to the next level. And that is ball security and efficient offense.”

Eads never really got much going against the Cards but did break out to tie McClave 11-11 in the final quarter.

The Cards shot well at 46%. But their intense defense affected Eads’ shooting who shot at a 19% pace. They were only 20% from the three-point line and 42% from the free throw line.

McClave freshman Abrielle Gomez led with 15 points and pulled down 4 rebounds and stole 4 balls.

Kennedy Vallejos added 8 points, 4 assists and 4 steals. Chloe Weber added 6 points and 4 rebounds.

Junior McKayla Kiniston had a strong game with 5 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 8 steals.

Freshman Zoe Martinez added 5 points and Ashlynn Steinbrunn had 8 rebounds.

For Eads it was freshman Lexi Shotton leading the way with 7 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

Maddie McDowell added 6 points, and Kara Wilson had 4 points.

Sophomore guard Alessandra Paez had 3 points, 7 rebounds and 6 steals. Sam Courkamp added 3 points and 4 rebounds. Katie Johnson and Tailee Weeks-Johnson each grabbed 4 boards.

The next night in Eads was a rough and emotional game as both teams were on a mission to grab a much-needed win. The Eads defense held Wiley down to a single point after the first quarter, but only scored 5 points on the offensive side.

Eder said, “On Saturday we got into a wild game with high emotions with 2 teams trying to get some win down the stretch to solidify spots into the regional round of playoffs. It was a slow start for us on offense as we missed many layups/close shots to really break the game open early. Our pressure was creating havoc and getting us great opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize on.”

The Eagles continued to hold off the Wiley offense as the Panthers only shot at 23%.

Eder added, “Defensively holding Wiley to 1 point in the first quarter was great and frustrated them. In the second quarter we were able to score 13 points. But I feel that we could have had quite a few more points but we didn’t take advantage of opportunities and then just really didn’t play smart basketball to finish the first half and got into foul trouble. This didn’t allow us to continue our game plan in the second half and had to back our pressure off to protect ourselves from more fouls. But we played great half-court defense and got some shots to fall. The girls did adjust and played better and kept composure as the tensions flared up and finished the game.”

Courkamp led the Eagles with 8 points.

Shotton had 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals.

McDowell added 5 points, 4 boards, and 3 steals.

Paez had 6 points and Johnson added 4 points.

Weeks-Johnson only had 2 points but pulled down a phenomenal 13 rebounds. The freshman also added 4 assists and 5 steals.

As they look ahead this week the Eads girls will travel to play a decent South Baca (5-8) team for a non-conference contest. They then need to put together a big game in Cheyenne Wells against a Tiger team that is getting better and better with each outing.

Eder knows the game with the Tigers is important, “Our nemesis right now that is keeping us from really taking a big leap forward is turnovers but more importantly poor shooting from the free throw line. We are not scoring when we get there and getting the so-called free points on the board. As the end of the season is nearing we have to improve on those 2 things. We have 5 games left and we really need to see improvement and play well and stack some wins together going into districts and the playoffs. I think we can compete with the really good teams if we play smart ball and limit mistakes.”

Wiley will just have one game this week when they host Bethune on Saturday, Feb. 11.

McClave will be very busy this week as they travel to a non-conference game with Sierra Grande on Tuesday. On Thursday, they have a big game against Kit Carson for the Hi-Plains League dominance. Finally, they host a very tough Fleming group in the Cardinal Den on Saturday night.

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