Cats stun Hobbs

Mike Floyd drives past Clovis’ John Props during Friday’s game in Hobbs. Hobbs News-Sun photo by Cody Gideon.

CNJ staff

HOBBS — John Props said he’s made some buzzer-beaters this season — just not at the end of games with the outcome on the line.

Props’ 3-point shot with two seconds left Friday night sent the Clovis High boys to their first win in Hobbs in four years, a wild 96-95 verdict that cost the Eagles a share of the District 4-5A boys regular-season championship.

Regardless of Friday’s outcome, Clovis (20-6, 5-3 district) had already been relegated to the third seed in next week’s district tournament. Senior guard Bud Willis scored 27 points and junior forward Justin Pinckney added 24 in a game of attrition — both teams shot 43 free throws and had more than 30 fouls, losing several players to disqualification in the process.

“I thought it was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever played in,” Props said. “And it happened to be a Clovis-Hobbs game.”

The Cats trailed much of the game, including by double figures in the second quarter. But they mounted several comebacks in the late going to end a six-game overall losing streak against the Eagles.

“We just never panicked,” said Clovis boys coach J.D. Isler, whose team lost the earlier meeting to Hobbs 75-68 at home. “We just kept playing hard and attacking the basket. We rebounded the ball really hard, and I think that was the big difference.”

Hobbs (21-5, 6-2) led 95-93 when Clovis’ Dominique Easterlin was called for traveling with about 30 seconds left. The Eagles turned it over with 15 seconds to go, giving the Cats a final chance.

Props took a pass from Willis on the right side of the key, head-faked Hobbs’ Eric Youmans and took a dribble before letting fly.

There was some question among officials after he made the shot whether it should count two points or three, but Props said that may have been because he immediately crashed the boards in case he missed.

“I know I was behind the line,” he said. “If I missed the shot, I wanted a chance to get a rebound.”

The Cats host the winner of Monday’s game at Manzano between the fourth-seeded Monarchs and No. 5 Carlsbad in a 7:30 p.m. contest on Wednesday. That winner visits Hobbs on Friday.

“It was a confidence-builder for us,” Props said of Friday’s victory. “We played a little more loose than we have been. We came out with a win, and we feel good about it.”
Isler said the Cats deserve some credit for the season they’ve put together.

“We’ve won 20 games and been in the top 10 (in 5A) all year,” he said. “All we’ve heard about is how we haven’t beaten Hobbs, but I think were a pretty stinking good team.”

Clovis 96, Hobbs 95
Clovis (20-6, 5-3) —
Bud Willis 7 11-13 27, Tizrick Phillips 0 0-0 0, Zac Watters 3 5-6 11, Elliott Hita 2 2-2 6, John Props 3 0-0 8, Justin Pinckney 10 4-5 24, Dominique Easterlin 3 6-10 12, Mario Caswell 3 2-7 8. Totals 31 30-43 96.
Hobbs (21-5, 6-2) — Jesse Nelson 1 0-3 2, Bennie Baeza 4 9-12 17, Ervin Youmans 10 7-9 32, Mike Floyd 3 1-2 7, DeShon Sanders 1 6-9 8, Rob Clarke 1 1-2 3, B.J. Meredith 3 0-0 7, Jesse Molina 2 1-1 6, Phillip Wheat 4 2-3 10, Duncan Febri 1 1-2 3, Matt Davis 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 28-43 95.
Clovis 22 29 15 30 — 96
Hobbs 24 29 19 23 — 95
3-pointers — Clovis, Props 2, Willis 2. Hobbs, Youmans 5, Meredith, Molina. JV score — Hobbs 84, Clovis 78.