Cats roll to win over Goddard

Clovis’ Bryce Hill releases the ball for two points during the second half of Saturday’s game against Roswell Goddard at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

CNJ staff

Despite a broken bone in his right hand, Jaden Isler wasn’t going to wait three weeks to return to action.

The Clovis High sophomore guard played with a splint covering the injury on Saturday night and the Wildcats cruised to a 72-46 victory over Roswell Goddard at Rock Staubus Gym.

The Cats (9-4), coming off a loss on Tuesday to Frenship, struggled for a time in this one but pulled away to a 14-point halftime lead. Junior guard Cody Thornsbury led three Cats in double figures with 14 points, including four 3-pointers.

Senior post Chris Finch, playing for the first time in four games due to a family trip to California, added 13 points and junior Rishard Matthews scored 12.

Using his left hand extensively, Isler was limited to four points in the game. But his father and coach, J.D. Isler, said it was helpful t o have him back.

“The doctor said he wasn’t going to hurt it (more) since it’s in a cast,” the elder Isler said. “As long as we put some protection on the cast, he can play. It affects his shooting, but at the same time he can help our other guards get some shots.”

The 6-foot-4 Finch, meantime, had one of his better outings in the post.

“We played a little sluggish in the first half, but I thought we had a real good third quarter,” coach Isler said. “We just finally got our fast break going a little bit, and we shot the ball better.”

It was the Cats’ third win this season over the Rockets (5-10). They beat Goddard for third place in the City of Champions Classic in Artesia in early December, and then won again the following week in Roswell.

Junior Raul Renteria led the young Rockets with 10 points.
Goddard’s nine-player roster includes four juniors and three sophomores.

“Clovis is just better than us,” Goddard coach Kevin Jones said. “They’re just stronger and more physical. Hopefully, (playing the Cats) will make us better come district t ime.”

Jones said the positive he took from the game was that his team showed more aggressiveness than it has in most games.

“The way basketball has evolved in recent years, you’ve just got to be physical,” he said.

The Cats return to action on Tuesday when they host Portales in a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.