Cats pull away from win at Aztec

CNJ STAFF

AZTEC — Guards Cody Thornsbury, Bryce Hill and Jaden Isler turned consecutive steals into baskets in the fourth quarter Tuesday night, and the Clovis High boys basketball team pulled away to a 60-48 victory over Aztec.

The Wildcats never trailed after the first quarter, but saw the Tigers pare an eight-point halftime deficit to one several times late in the third period, including 41-40 at quarter’s end. Clovis outscored Aztec 19-8 in the final eight minutes.

“We played pretty well defensively in the first half,” Cats coach J.D. Isler said. “We pressured the whole game, but we gave up some easy baskets in the third quarter and they made a run on us.”

Thornsbury finished with 16 points and Hill added 14 for Clovis (12-6). Seniors Matt Thompson with 18 and Ricky Gillespie with 12 led the way for the Tigers (10-8).

Leading by three points with about five minutes left, Thornsbury converted a steal into a layup. Then Hill got a steal and fed Thornsbury, who missed the layup only to have Hill follow it in for a basket.

Jaden Isler then stole the ball and got it to Hill for a layup and a nine-point lead.

The Cats went 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the final period to help secure the win.

“We played a real solid game,” coach Isler said. “We rebounded pretty well, and Jaden did a good job of running the team.

“It was a long trip. We didn’t have a lot of turnovers, which is what you have to be able to do on the road.”

The Cats play their final non-district road game on Friday at Aztec, then open District 4-5A competition at home against Hobbs on Feb. 3.