Prep Newsmaker: Clah's new attitude drives FHS

Karl Schneider
kschneider@daily-times.com
Farmington's Brighton Clah poses for a photo on Monday at Scorpion Gym in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — The Farmington girls basketball team has not advanced out of the first round of a state tournament in more than a decade.

Last season, the Lady Scorps came close, earning the No. 8 seed in the 5A tournament and hosting Belen in the first round. But they fell 54-48.

This year, Farmington returns the vast majority of its production from last season’s 20-9 team. The team's top five scorers and rebounders are back, with senior Brighton Clah leading the way.

“It really motivated us. We still think and talk about it,” Clah said of the loss to Belen. “We had that game, and we still think about it every day. We’re pushing ourselves, and we want to get back to the state tournament, make it to The Pit this year and go further.”

Last season, Clah averaged a team best of  9.1 points per game while shooting 51 percent from the field.

And when the Lady Scorps opened this season, hosting Grants on Nov. 24, Clah picked up where last season ended.

After a relatively quiet first half, Clah dominated the Lady Pirates in the third quarter, scoring 10 of her 16 points in the quarter to help the Lady Scorps to an 83-54 victory.

Clah’s comfort zone is in the post, catching the ball on the block and using her size and athleticism to beat defenders. But she also has the ability to step out and knock down jumpers as deep as the 3-point line.

Her size and skill are enough to make her a point of focus in any opposing coach’s scouting report, but how she has improved mentally may be her greatest strength.

“She grew a little bit of an attitude this summer, and it’s nice because in the past she could be a little soft. This year, she has that little bit of attitude in the post, and it carries over to the other girls, and it helps them get stronger and better,” said Farmington head coach Danny Secrest. “Before she was a little lackadaisical and didn’t work as hard, but she’s definitely learned to be a leader and is stronger with her work ethic.”

Part of Clah’s new toughness comes from the loss to Belen last season. And part comes from her and the team’s desire to dethrone reigning District 1-5A champ Gallup.

“Gallup, we are coming for Gallup. We’ve been trying to get mentally prepared for Gallup every day in practice,” Clah said.

But mostly, her desire to make this season the best Farmington fans have seen in recent years is the fact that it’s her last.

After losing to Belen last year, Clah knew there would be another chance to play at The Pit in Albuquerque. This season, she’s aware there won’t be another opportunity.

“It would mean a lot. It’s my last year, and we didn’t make it at all my sophomore year, and last year, we lost in the first round. It would be a big deal,” Clah said. “Honestly, I think I would probably cry. It’s my last year, and we want it really, really bad.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

A closer look: Brighton Clah

Favorite food?

“Pizza.”

Favorite movie?

“A Bug’s Life.”

Favorite subject in school?

“French.”

Least favorite subject in school?

“Math.”

Favorite team?

“New Orleans Saints.”

Favorite athlete?

“Kevin Love.”

Do you play any other sports?

“No.”

Biggest fear?

“Spiders.”

What’s the first thing you would do if you won $1 million?

“I’d take all my family and all my friends whereever they want to go.”

Any pre-game rituals?

“Have something to eat, a Gatorade and put on my shoes.”