Cats roll past Alamogordo

Clovis senior post Michael Lewis looks to go to the basket in Friday’s game against Alamogordo at Rock Staubus Gym. Lewis finished with 13 points and four rebounds in the Wildcats’ 86-60 victory. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Alamogordo boys basketball coach John Madden said he warned his team about Clovis High’s shooters.

Either the Tigers didn’t believe him, or there wasn’t much they could do about it.

Senior guard Cody Thornsbury nailed a trio of 3-pointers in a span of just over a minute late in the first half, capping another blistering start for the Wildcats in an 86-60 victory on Friday night at Rock Staubus Gym.

Clovis (8-0), which scored 31 first-quarter points for the second consecutive night, finished 8-of-15 from long range in the opening half in building a 51-30 margin.

“Clovis is a good team,” said Madden, who came to Alamo this year after spending the last couple of seasons at Carlsbad. “The kids didn’t believe how well they could shoot.”

After putting five players in double figures in an 82-62 win over Roswell High on Thursday, the Cats accomplished that feat again. Thornsbury had 18 points, including 11 in the final three minutes of the half, while junior guards Jaden Isler and Bryce Hill added 17 and 16, respectively.

CHS also got 13 points from senior post Michael Lewis and 12 from junior guard Manuel Robles. Isler added eight assists and was one of four Cats with four rebounds.

“We try to come out and hit them in the first quarter,” Hill said of the team’s fast starts. “We try to wear their legs out in the first half.

“In practice we compete so hard, so it makes the games easy. Everybody knows their role, and we just come out and do what we do.”

Clovis shot 54 percent for the game, putting the Tigers (2-7) in a 31-13 hole with a 13-for-21 performance in the opening period. Perhaps even more impressive is that as fast as they played, the Cats committed only four turnovers in the first three quarters.

Coach J.D. Isler said he doesn’t have to do much pushing during halftimes.

“I haven’t gone in at halftime this year and had to fault our effort,” he said. “Basically, our halftimes have been about making small adjustments.

“Our kids are playing so hard. It’s fun to coach this team, and it’s fun to watch.”

A lot of tough games await down the road, but Hill said the Cats are working toward peaking late in the season.

“Our main goal is to make it to state,” he said. “We just try to take it one game at a time. We play as a team, and we’re going to make it as far as we go as a team.”

Senior post C.J. Oakley led the Tigers with 16 points. Senior guard Grant Young added 13s, with nine coming in the fourth quarter, while junior post Matt Peeler finished with 10.

The Tigers outrebounded Clovis 39-21 and shot 45 percent, but couldn’t overcome 26 turnovers against the aggressive Cats defense.

“We’ve just got to find someone who can take care of the ball,” Madden said. “Finding a point guard has been a problem since Day 1.”