By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
With his team off to a 4-0 start, Clovis High boys basketball coach J.D. Isler said he’s less concerned about who the Wildcats are playing and more about fine-tuning their overall game.
CHS boys and girls squads begin a busy weekend with a doubleheader today against Aztec at Rock Staubus Gym. On Saturday, the girls host Lubbock Coronado while the boys travel to Roswell Goddard.
Clovis’ boys handed Aztec a 60-48 loss on the road last season, but Isler said he doesn’t know much about the current version of the Tigers.
“I’m really more concerned with what we do and getting better in certain areas,” Isler said.
In a 66-52 victory over Amarillo High at home on Tuesday, the Cats scored the game’s first 11 points, then fell behind for a time before pulling away late. It was the first of six games — five at home — in a span of 11 days for Clovis.
“We knew they weren’t going to go away,” Isler said of Tuesday’s game with the Sandies. “They’re a really disciplined team.
“Our effort has been great, and we feel like our defense has been really solid. We have a nice balance (between inside and outside scoring). Teams are going to have to honor our outside game, and that opens it up inside.”
The Cats beat Goddard 60-41 in the semifinals en route to the championship of last weekend’s Artesia Invitational. The Rockets came back for a 63-57 win over Carlsbad in the third-place contest.
“They’ve got a nice team,” Isler said. “They’re a lot more physical than they were last year. We have a lot of respect for them.”
Clovis’ girls (5-2) will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s 64-36 loss to Amarillo High.
“Aztec is as good as anybody on the (Class) 4A side,” CHS girls coach Miles Watters said. “They’ve got great team speed and quickness.”
The Lady Tigers are led by senior guard Patricia Malouff, who has already signed for track next year at the University of New Mexico. Malouff scored 23 points in a loss to Clovis last season.
Watters said he expects Aztec to zone the Lady Wildcats for the most part. Meantime, Coronado will apply fullcourt pressure, much as Amarillo High did.
“We’re still searching for some answers in a lot of areas,” Watters said.
Clovis will regain the services of senior guard Ebony Bunton, who sat out Tuesday’s game due to a school suspension. Her presence should help take some pressure off other players, Watters said.
“It settles us down,” he said. “It gives us more comfort and confidence. She’s someone that everyone can play off of.”