ARTESIA — After a slow start in the early stages of the first quarter, the Artesia Lady Dogs (6-6) were able to gather some steam and held off the Clovis Wildcats (8-6) 56-38 Friday night at the Bulldog Pit.
The contest was scoreless in the opening three minutes plus of the game. That changed with 4:45 showing on the first quarter clock as Artesia junior Kyrah Gonzales dropped a bomb from downtown giving Artesia an early 3-0 lead. Clovis’ first basket of the game didn’t come until the 3:40 mark as the Lady Dogs had a 12-7 lead at the end of the opening period.
“Coming into the game I knew that if we didn’t play well, Clovis would run us out of the gym.” said Jeff Houghtaling, Artesia’s head coach.
He said the Wildcats have a lot of tradition in their program, “I think we may have caught them on a down night tonight. They didn’t shoot particularly well, they’re better shooters than that.
In the second quarter, Artesia was able to keep the lead as Gonzales and junior Paityn Houghtaling sank a pair of three-pointers and senior Kali Crandall went 3-4 from the foul line as the Lady Dogs had a 25-16 lead at the half.
Early in the third quarter, Clovis was starting to scratch and claw at Artesia’s lead. The home team though was able to cage the visitors and hold them off late in the period as Artesia extended the lead to 38-24 when the buzzer sounded ending the period.
In the fourth quarter, Clovis tried pressing the Lady Dogs. However, it didn’t work as Artesia was able to sink some key shots from the foul line and senior Alexa Riggs fired a long-range shot that helped Artesia come away with the win over the 6-A school.
Paityn Houghtaling and senior Gracie Puentes both had 13 for Artesia. Gonzales had 11 for the Lady Dogs.
“They let us hang around and get to the foul line some tonight and we were able to come out with the win,” Houghtaling said.
He added, “I thought our kids played really hard though and came out with intense and focused and we made our foul shots and hit a couple of shots down the stretch that kind of did them in, it was a good for us.”
Artesia hits the road to Deming later today with a 3:30 p.m. matinee.
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In Gallup, senior Joe Willingham had 18 points, while junior Cody Smith had 17 and senior Tyler Greenwood had 15 as the Bulldogs defeated the Scouts to advance to tonight’s title game of the Gallup Invitational.
Michael Mondragon, Artesia’s head coach, said the Bulldogs (8-4) play Sandia Prep at 6 p.m. The Sundevils (5-8) defeated the Gallup Bengals.
Mondragon said he was proud of his team, “it’s exciting to come up here and win two games.”