Rebounds key for Cats

Clovis senior Devin Sweet will need to have a big game today when the Wildcats go on the road to face Roswell High (15-3). (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer

In basketball, height isn’t everything, but it’s a lot.

It’s the reason Sam Bowie was drafted ahead of Michael Jordan. It’s the reason why Shaquille O’Neal, a career 53- percent free throw shooter, is a surefire NBA Hall-of-Famer.

Height is not something the Clovis Wildcats are long on.
The tallest Wildcat is 6-foot-4-inch senior Chris Finch. Senior Devin Sweet and Junior Micheal Lewis follow, measuring in at 6-3.

Rarely do the Clovis posts get to look the opposition in the eye without tilting their necks.

Tonight will be no different as the Cats (11-5) go on the road to play Roswell High (15-3).

Clovis coach J.D. Isler scouted the Coyotes on Tuesday in their 90-85 win against Hobbs.

“They’ve got a kid who looks about 6-6 or 6-7, and they’ve got another kid who is about 6-5,” Isler said. “Rebounding is a big concern, but I feel like our kids will do what they have to do to rebound.”

Roswell has beaten Hobbs twice this season.
Finch said he is not concerned about the Cats’ lack of height.

“I really don’t think size matters,” Finch said. “It’s about who wants it the most. Everybody has something to contribute. The littlest guy can contribute anything. It’s just about how hard he wants to hustle.”

Sweet views going against taller players as a challenge.

“It’s kind of cool,” Sweet said. “Last year we had Tigg (Bunton) and he always drew the big guy. I think it’s kind of cool that I get to draw the big guy. They are putting me with the biggest challenge of the game.”

The biggest height mismatch Sweet faced this year came when he defended Pampa’s 6-8 post Jarrett Kotara in the finals of the Milk Cow Classic on Dec. 30.

“The kid is 6-8 and I got to guard him,” Sweet laughed. “He’s got almost four and a half inches on me, but it’s cool. I like it.”

Isler said the Coyotes will be one of the best teams the Cats face this season.

“They’re just a very athletic, well-rounded team,” Isler said. “They’re big, they rebound well, their guards are quick, they put a lot of pressure on you — there is a reason why they are 15-3.”

The Cats are coming off a 58-56 loss Saturday to Amarillo High.

Isler said he expects Roswell to bring plenty of full-court pressure.

“The big thing, I think, is we’ve got to handle the pressure they put on us defensively,” Isler said. “We had way too many turnovers against Amarillo High.”