Cats improve to 7-0 with rout of Coyotes

Clovis junior Manuel Robles scored 12 points off the bench in the Wildcats’ win over Roswell High. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

J.D. Isler believes opponents aren’t always ready for what they get with his Clovis High boys basketball team.

“We’re the kind of team that doesn’t look very intimidating in warmups,” Isler said. “But when the ball goes up, we’re going to compete hard.”

The Wildcats shot, ran and pressed their way past Roswell High in rolling to an 82-62 win on Thursday night at Rock Staubus Gym. Clovis improved to 7-0 heading into a 7 p.m. home clash today against Alamogordo.

Jaden Isler, the coach’s son, led five Clovis players in double figures with 18 points. The Cats gunned up 51 field goal attempts en route to 52-30 halftime command, and led by 36 points late in the third quarter.

“We just wanted to get them going up and down,” Jaden Isler said. “We feel like we can shoot with anyone, and our big guys can run the floor and still finish. Our defense is good enough that we can shut people down.”

CHS scored 10 unanswered points, fueled by 3-pointers from guards Bryce Hill and Cody Thornbury, to snap a 2-2 tie and the Coyotes (6-4) were never able to make a game of it.

“Clovis did a good job; Isler’s got a good team,” Coyotes coach Britt Cooper said. “It’s just a case where we didn’t come ready to play in the first quarter.”

Senior post Michael Lewis added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Cats, while Thornsbury finished with 14 points and Hill and reserve Manuel Robles added 12 apiece.

Senior guard Stefon Doram scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half for the Coyotes, while senior guard Trong Nguyen added 16 points — all but three in the final period.

The first half was played at a frenetic pace.

“We felt like they were going to try to run with us,” coach Isler said. “I thought we played exceptionally hard except for the last three minutes of the game.

“I think we wear people down as the game goes. We’re in great condition.”

Four Cats finished the half with three personals, forcing them to go to a 3-2 zone defense. That helped slow the pace a bit.

Roswell High managed only 7-of-17 shooting from the field in the opening half, but stayed in some semblance of striking distance by going 16-of-20 from the foul line. That turned around in the third quarter, when the Coyotes already had 10 fouls at one point — including a technical on Cooper, who said he was trying to fire up his team — to one for the Cats.

Clovis scored the first 14 points of the third stanza while holding the Coyotes scoreless for more than five minutes at the start of the third period.

“The start of the game and the start of the third quarter was the whole game,” Cooper said.
Jaden Isler expressed little concern about fatigue heading into tonight’s contest with Alamo (4-4).

“We’re in good enough shape that we can come out every night and just run,” he said.