Cats prepare for rematch with Coyotes

By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer

Clovis coach J.D. Isler said his team is playing much better basketball since then a lopsided loss at Roswell three weeks ago.

“We’re playing with more confidence, and we’re healthy,” Isler said. “Our kids are in a good frame of mind. I think they understand their roles and they’re just playing a lot better.”

The Cats (15-6) host Roswell in a non-district contest at 7:30 p.m. today at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.

Clovis has won four straight since the 84-69 loss at Roswell, including a 77-52 win Tuesday at Carlsbad.

Meanwhile, Roswell is heading in the opposite direction. After beating Clovis, the Coyotes (18-5) have gone 3-2, including a 59-57 loss to Carlsbad.

“We’re definitely playing our best basketball of the season and I think we’re still going to get better,” Isler said.

Isler said his team will do a better job on defense in the rematch.

“We learned that we’ve got to get back on defense,” Isler said. “We gave up a lot of transition baskets because we didn’t get back. Other than that, I felt like we played pretty well against them.”

In the first meeting, Clovis entered the fourth quarter down only four points, but the Coyotes outscored the Cats 25-14 in the final period to pull away for the win.

Sophomore Bryce Hill, who led Clovis with 17 points, believes the Wildcats will play better down the stretch today.
“After halftime, we thought we had the game won,” Hill said. “We have to play a whole game because they’re a good team.”

After tonight’s game, the Cats host Carlsbad on Tuesday, then travel to Hobbs for the regular season finale Feb. 17.
“This is just a game to keep our momentum going,” Hill said. “If we win this game, it will help us out a lot.”

Winners of 10 straight, the Clovis Lady Wildcats (22-2) go play at Roswell High (12-11) at 7 p.m. tonight.

The Lady Cats have not played Roswell in Clovis coach Miles Watters’ five years as head coach. The Lady Coyotes did play in the four-team State Farm Classic last month in Clovis.

“We got a chance to take a good look at them,” Watters said. “They are a very athletic team and they like to shoot the three.”

Watters called Roswell junior Samantha Matta an “exceptional guard” but said he expects his team’s defense to be up to the challenge.

“Our defense is designed to take outside shots away from shooters,” he said.

The Lady Cats are fresh off a dominating 72-14 win Tuesday against Carlsbad.

“We’ve played real well in the past three or so games,” Watters said. “Obviously we want to maintain that level.”