Wildcats pull away from Rebels in second half

Clovis guard Jaden Isler and Amarillo Tascosa’s Marquise Bryson struggle for a loose ball during Wednesday’s first round game at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. (CNJ staff photo: Andrew Chavez)

By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer

Against an undermanned and winless team, an eight-point lead at halftime is cause for concern.

The Clovis Wildcats were never threatened in their 70-49 win over Amarillo Tascosa Wednesday in the first-round of the Milk Cow Classic, but Clovis coach J.D. Isler wanted his team to play better.

“We show signs that we can play real well together,” he said. “But then we show signs that we haven’t really jelled yet. We’re getting to the point where we’ve got to, because we’re getting into some bigger games.”

The Wildcats (6-3) lead 26-18 at the half, but junior post Michael Lewis said his coach was not happy with the effort.

“In the first half we were just throwing up shots and Coach Isler was getting mad at us,” Lewis said. “In the second half, we came out and ran our plays and got easy buckets.”

Clovis outscored the Rebels 44-31 in the second half.

Two Cats scored in double figures — junior Cody Thornsbury with 16 and Lewis with 13.

“I thought in the second half Michael Lewis got in a groove offensively,” Isler said.

Lewis appears to be healthy after being hobbled by an ankle injury to start the season.

The Rebels (0-11) were lead by Anthony Scott with 12 points and Marquise Bryant with 11.

Clovis faces Rio Grande today in the second round at 7:30 p.m.

“They look good,” Lewis said of Rio Grande. “They’re big, and they’ll penetrate, so we just have to defend well. We’ll be fine.”

Isler thinks the Wildcats can play better.

“I know we’ve got better play in us,” Isler said. “I don’t want them to be just satisfied with just winning. I want them to understand that we’ve areas to improve.”

Isler said his team’s biggest issue right now is rebounding.

“I’m really not happy with our rebounding and our boxing out at all,” Isler said. “As small as we are, that’s something we have to do. Until the players start understanding how important it is, we’re not going to get it done. I hope it doesn’t take a loss to get it through to them.”