Cats hit road for lengthy trip to Aztec

CNJ staff

The Clovis High boys basketball team will tune up for District 4-5A play with a couple of road trips this week, beginning with a long one to Aztec for a 6 p.m. contest today.

The Wildcats (11-6) left on Monday afternoon for Albuquerque, where they planned to spend the night before completing the roughly seven-hour jaunt today.

Clovis plays at Artesia, then will have a week off before starting district play against Hobbs on Feb. 3 at Rock Staubus Gym.

Aztec participated in the Cats’ Milk Cow Classic Dec. 28-30 at Rock Staubus Gym. Although the Class 4A Tigers (10-7) didn’t win any games and finished eighth, Isler said they were competitive.

“They didn’t beat anybody here, but they were in every game,” said Isler, whose team won the event. “I know they’ll zone us, and I think they’ll try to run with us.”

Aztec’s leaders in the tournament were seniors Matt Thompson, who scored 53 points in the three games, and Ricky Gillespie, who scored 31.

Isler noted that the Tigers won a tournament on their home court a couple of weekends ago.

“They do have a very solid team,” he said. “We’re expecting it to be tough up there.”

Sophomore guard Jaden Isler, who has been playing for several weeks with a broken bone in his right hand, has gotten a smaller cast to protect the injury.

The injury has forced him to do almost everything left-handed for the time being.

“We’re hoping he can get (the cast) off next Monday,” coach Isler said. “We’re hoping he won’t have to wear anything on it after that.”

With the schedule slowing down for the moment, he said he’s hoping the Cats can get healed and put together a strong stretch run.

“We’re just in a situation where we’ve got to go play well on the road for two games,” he said. “Our kids are in a good frame of mind.

“I feel good about our team and our chances in the playoffs. I know we’re going to continue to get better, and I’m not sure everybody else will.”