Furious rally pushes Cats past Manzano

CNJ staff

ALBUQUERQUE — Things didn’t look too good for the Clovis High basketball team through three quarters Friday night.

Manzano carried a 47-39 lead into the final eight minutes against the Wildcats in their District 4-5A clash, and still led by eight a couple of minutes into the stanza. But Clovis finished the game with a flurry, outscoring the Monarchs 28-5 for the period and pulling away to a 67-52 victory.

Clovis continues its weekend district road trip to the Duke City tonight with a game against Eldorado (10-5, 1-0).

The Cats (16-3, 1-0 district) got 24 points from junior Dominique Easterlin and 19 from senior Justin Pinckney. Point guard Bud Willis added 13.

“Our defense was really good in the second half,” said CHS coach J.D. Isler, who posted his 299th victory as a high school coach at Grady and Clovis. “Part of (the decisive run) was we wore them down, and part of it was our intensity level was high on the defensive end.”

Manzano outscored Clovis 12-4 in the second quarter to open a seven-point halftime lead, and extended that to 11 during the third quarter.

Isler said once the Monarchs (8-7, 0-2) got a lead, they slowed the tempo of the game.

“They make it hard for you to get back in the game if you become impatient,” he said. “They’re the kind of team that if they get ahead, they spread you out.”

Paul Gabaldon led the Monarchs with 14 points, including four 3-pointers. The Cats held Manzano senior standout Rodney Ferguson to 13 points, nearly 10 under his average for the season.

Manzano still led by four points about midway through the final quarter, but the Cat finished the contest on a 21-2 run.

“”We kept pushing the ball (once they got ahead),” Isler said. “We didn’t let them rest and get their legs back.
“They gave us their best shot tonight, and I thought our kids really responded well.”

Clovis 67, Manzano 52
Clovis (16-3, 1-0) —
Bud Willis 4 5-10 13, Tizrick Phillips 1 0-0 2, Zac Watters 2 0-0 4, Jacob Jones 0 0-0 0, Elliott Hita 0 0-0 0, John Props 0 1-2 1, Justin Pinckney 6 7-9 19, Dominique Easterlin 10 2-2 24, Mario Caswell 2 0-0 4, Jermaine Davis 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 15-23 67.
Manzano (8-7, 0-2) — Frank Tafoya 1 0-0 3, Cesar Cuevas 1 2-3 5, Jordan Parks 0 0-0 0, Cash Davis 0 0-0 0, Chris Romero 0 0-0 0, Paul Gabaldon 5 0-0 14, Rodney Ferguson 5 3-4 13, Chanselor Bell 8 1-2 17. Totals 20 6-9 52.
Clovis 17 4 18 28 — 67
Manzano 16 12 19 5 — 52
3-pointers — Clovis, Easterlin 2. Manzano, Gabaldon 4, Cuevas, Tafoya.