Wildcats win wild one against district rival

Clovis senior Devin Sweet scores two of his 15 points over Hobbs’ Oliver Stinson. (CNJ staff photo: Rick White)

By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer

Clovis’ smallest player nearly blew the roof of The Rock.

Cody Thornsbury, a 5-foot-6 junior lefty, hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points and sophomore Jaden Isler iced the game with 14 second-half free throws as Clovis beat District 4-5A rival Hobbs 92-81 Friday in front of a packed Rock Staubus Gymnasium.

Senior Austin Turner scored 28 points and pulled down nine rebounds and junior Nick Youmans slashed his way to 24 points in a losing effort for the Eagles (16-10, 1-1 in district).

With just over two minutes to play, Thornsbury knocked down a 3-pointer to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 73-69 and whip the capacity crowd into a frenzy.

Seconds later, senior Devin Sweet corralled an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Thornsbury, who again nailed a 3-ball to give the Cats a seven-point advantage.
“That was a momentum swing,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said about Thornsbury’s shots. “In every game you know there is going to be one of those and that was huge.”

Thornsbury said his consecutive 3s hardly put the Eagles away.

“That really got me going and that got the team fired up,” Thornsbury said. “But, you can’t ever quit on Hobbs because you never know what they’re going to do.”

In the final minutes, Hobbs went into an aggressive press to try and get back into the game, but Jaden Isler took over for the Cats (14-6, 1-0).

“Once they got it in Jaden’s hands down the stretch we had a hard time covering him up,” Hobbs coach Russ Gilmore said. “The way he hits those free-throws, he’s tough to defend.”

The Clovis point guard was 16-of-17 from the free throw line, including 14-of-14 in the second half. He finished with 25 points.

Jaden Isler played most of January with a soft cast on his right wrist and missed practice this week due to a bum ankle.

“It didn’t hurt that entire game,” the coach’s son said about the injuries. “And my free throws felt good, so I said, ‘if they’re going to keep fouling me, I’m going to keep shooting them.’”

Two Cats recorded double-doubles. Sweet scored 15 and pulled down 13 rebounds and junior Michael Lewis had 12 points and 11 boards.

Fouls were trouble for both teams, but particularly for Hobbs guard Samson Munoz, who was held to 13 points in limited playing time.

Munoz came into the game averaging 16.8 points per game.