Wildcats coast into Artesia championship

CNJ staff

Before his team left for the Artesia City of Champions Classic, Clovis coach J.D. Isler wasn’t sure how much he would get out of senior Tizrick Phillips, who was battling the flu.

But it was the Artesia Bulldogs who were feeling a little sick Saturday night when Phillips poured in a career-high 18 points to lead Clovis to a 64-43 win in the tournament championship game. Junior forward Devin Sweet scored 12, the second-straight game he was in double digits.

Isler said the game was much closer than the score indicated. Clovis (5-0) was up only four after the first quarter and maintained a lead close to 10 points for much of the second and third quarters. It was only in the fourth quarter, when the Bulldogs tired and the Cats pulled away.

“We got some valuable experience being in a tougher game tonight,” Isler said.

The Cats made their big push in the second quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 21-12 to go up by 13 points.

Clovis played much of the first half without seniors Tigg Bunton and Dominique Easterlin, who each picked up three three fouls in the first half.

“Our bench all came in and did a good job,” Isler said.

Isler said Bunton and Easterlin had to deal with some tough calls, but was pleased with how they kept their composure.
“It’s going to happen in district and we’ve got to learn to deal with it,” Isler said.

The Cats rolled over El Paso-Austin and Roswell in the first two games of the tournament to reach the championship. Over the three games, Clovis allowed an average of only 34 points a game.

“We’re making it tough for people to score on us,” Isler said.

Artesia tournament
Clovis 52, Roswell 32
Clovis (4-0) — Tizrick Phillips 3 2-2 10, Elliott Hita 1 0-2 2, Jacob Jones 2 0-0 4, John Props 2 0-0 4, Tigg Bunton 5 0-2 10, Devin Sweet 6 1-2 13, Jaden Isler 0 0-0 0, Dominique Easterlin 4 1-1 9, Windell Belford 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 11-15 68.
Roswell — Stephen Brandt 2 0-0 4, Nick Espinoza 0 2-2 2, Lucas Gallegos 1 0-0 2, Josh Williams 1 0-0 2, Aaron Farmer 1 1-1 3, Clarence Cheadle 1 3-6 5, Jonathan Hamlet 2 0-0 4, A.K. Dennis 2 6-6 10. Totals 10 12-15 26.
Clovis 19 18 9 6 — 52
Roswell 9 12 8 3 — 32
3-pointers — Clovis, Phillips 2.