Carlsbad Cavegirl head basketball coach Matt Enloe said the team overachieved last season with key players injured and not enough depth on the bench as the team finished 22-8 and made it to the second round of the state playoffs.
Enloe looks to build on last year’s success as the Cavegirls start the 2022-2023 season Monday night in Alamogordo.
The Lady Tigers lost the season opener to Hobbs on Nov. 22, 71-11.
Carlsbad’s leading scorer last season was Marianna Sepulveda, she averaged 14 points per game and Enloe expects the senior forward to lead the Cavegirls in 2023.
“This will be her third year as a starter. She’s a great leader. She’s a leader by example and this year she’s becoming one of our vocal leaders. We’re super excited for her for a great senior year,” he said.
Sepulveda is one of six seniors on this year’s Cavegirl squad. Enloe anticipates Kilea Estrada and Allie Myers to have similar leadership roles on and off the basketball court.
“(Carlsbad is) looking for a great senior class with lots of leaderships and lots of roles,” Enloe said.
He said the Cavegirls have younger players to contribute for the upcoming season including sophomore guard Abbey Dugan, sophomore Jasmynn Gonzales and junior Sammy Oliver.
Enloe sizes up the schedule
After Monday night’s opener. The Cavegirls participate in the three-day City of Champions Classic Dec. 1 through Dec. 3 in Artesia. Carlsbad plays El Paso Bel Air on the opening day of the tournament.
The Cavegirls first home game is Dec. 5 against Santa Teresa. Albuquerque Cibola, Organ Mountain, Las Cruces, Artesia, Portales, Lovington, Centennial, and Rio Rancho are part of the non-district schedule.
“Every game is going to be a battle. Every team knows what we do. We know what every team does. I like our chances (to win) if we play our game,” Enloe said.
“On any given night we can lose to anybody. Last year we had a couple of close games that shouldn’t have been so close. I’m pretty confident where were at if we play our game,” he added.
Last year the Cavegirls finished second in District 5-4A, and league play starts Jan. 24 with a home game against Clovis.
Hobbs won the district. Clovis finished third and Roswell finished fourth.
“Hobbs is always one of the top contenders in the state. They’re always a high-quality opponent for us. They’re always a big challenge,” Enloe said.
Last season the Cavegirls were 0-4 against their eastern Lea County neighbors.
The Lady Eagles defeated Carlsbad twice in the regular season. Hobbs downed the Cavegirls in the championship of the District 5-4A postseason tournament 56-39.
Hobbs defeated Carlsbad in the second round of the state basketball tournament 45-34.
Enloe said Clovis and Roswell cannot be counted out of the district race.
“We play them so many times. I hope we do well. We’ve got to come out every game and win and compete. It should be a tough district this year. If we do what we need to do, I like our chances,” he said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.