Cats can clinch 4-5A title

Clovis High sophomore Bryce Hill drives to the basket against Roswell High’s Danton Washington during the first half of Friday’s game at Rock Staubus Gym. The visiting Coyotes beat Clovis 60-57. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

The Clovis High boys basketball team got a huge gift Friday night.

Thanks to Carlsbad’s stunning 83-81 win over Hobbs, the Cats are in position to lock up the District 4-5A regular-season title tonight — if they can beat Carlsbad at Rock Staubus Gym.

CHS boys coach J.D. Isler, though, remains concerned about the Cavemen.

“This makes the game huge,” he said Monday about the 7:30 p.m. tipoff. “It’s a tremendous opportunity, and we need our fans to turn out for the game.”

Meantime, Clovis’ top-ranked girls travel to Carlsbad tonight to take on a young Cavegirls squad which has been overwhelmed during district play by both the Lady Wildcats and Hobbs.

Clovis’ boys (15-7, 2-0 district), who lost to Roswell High 60-57 at home on Friday, need only to beat either the Cavemen (9-16, 1-2) or Hobbs (14-11, 1-2) on Friday at Hobbs to earn the right to host to boys district tournament championship game a week from Saturday.

Obviously, Isler doesn’t want it to come down to Friday’s game.

“I’m sure they’ll come in here on a real high,” Isler said of the Cavemen, whom Clovis beat soundly 77-52 last week in Carlsbad. “The good part is we get to play at home.

“We played well down there, but like we told our kids, you’ve got to come to play every night.”

Carlsbad overcame a 12-0 deficit out of the gate to notch its first win over Hobbs since 1994. Senior Seth Jones sank two free throws with less than six seconds left to break an 81-81 tie.

Isler said turnovers hurt the Cats in Friday’s loss to Roswell.
“I never did feel like we were in a very good rhythm,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to do a better job defending guard penetration (than they did against the Coyotes).”

The Clovis girls are in a good rhythm and appear headed toward a regular-season district title, although they still have to deal with a dangerous Hobbs squad later in the week. The Lady Cats (22-2, 2-0) have won 11 in a row.

The Cavegirls (4-20, 0-3) didn’t score until well into the second quarter in last week’s matchup at The Rock, eventually losing to Clovis 71-14.

While coach Miles Watters wants his team to play hard no matter the opponent, he noted that his squad generally does a good job of not playing down to the level of the competition.

“We feel pretty good about things,” Watters said. “As long as we don’t have a lapse, I feel good about what’s going on right now.

“They (Lady Cats) seem to relish playing hard and showing what kind of team they are. That’s something I’ve really been pleased about with this group.”