Coyotes hold off Cats

Clovis’ Devin Sweet splits two Roswell defenders during the first half of Friday’s game at Rock Staubus Gym. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer

Roswell High and Clovis switched roles in their two meetings this season, but the outcome didn’t change — the Coyotes won both.

Roswell beat Clovis 60-57 Friday at Rock Staubus Gym despite a second-half comeback fueled by junior Cody Thornsbury, who finished with 25 points.

Down by three with five seconds to play, Clovis guard Bryce Hill got a decent look at a 3-pointer, but the shot rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.

When the teams played in January, Clovis led into the fourth quarter before Roswell rallied for a 77-52 win.

On Friday, Roswell was ahead 40-31 heading into the fourth period when the Cats (15-6) made a run.

Clovis, which had won four straight, took the lead when sophomore guard Jaden Isler hit a 3-pointer with just under five minutes to play, but on the next possession senior Clarence Cheadle drove the lane and sank a layup to give the Coyotes a 45-44 lead they would not relinquish.

Cheadle paced the Coyotes (19-5) with 17 points.

Roswell’s Stefon Doram admitted he was concerned when the Cats started to rally.

“I thought they were going to come back and beat us,” Doram said. “But we pulled it through.”

Clovis coach J.D. Isler said his team looked flat for most of the game.

“We just never really got into a rhythm offensively,” J.D. Isler said. “When we needed to make some big plays down the stretch, we didn’t make them. We made some turnovers instead, they hit their free throws, and that was the ballgame.”

Jaden Isler and senior Devin Sweet, both starters, played limited minutes because of foul trouble. Both fouled out in the game’s final three minutes. Isler finished with eight points and Sweet with four.

“Jaden handles the ball a lot for us, and Devin is sort of our stability inside,” J.D. Isler said. “We lost a lot of leadership when those two fouled out. I feel like Cody Thornsbury stepped up and kept us in the game.”

Thornsbury’s night included six 3-pointers and a 7-of-7 effort from the free-throw line.

“We just came out flat in the first half, and you just can’t do that against a team like that because they’ll take advantage of it,” Thornsbury said.

Roswell coach Brett Cooper said the game was like a playoff win for his team.

“We should have been up by 10 or 11 at the half,” Roswell coach Brett Cooper said. “We missed some layups and dink shots that kept them in the ball game.”

The Coyotes led 25-18 going into the half.

With less than four minutes remaining in the game, Jaden Isler and Thornsbury hooked up for a play worthy of ESPN’s Top 10 plays. Isler drove the lane, missed a layup, and landed on the hardwood. The ball fell to him and, from his backside, he threw it out to Thornsbury, who nailed a 3-pointer.