Clovis readies for Artesia

By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer

Clovis High girls coach Miles Watters told Brittany Johnson a year ago it would take her a season to learn the team’s defensive system.

She’s right on schedule.

Watters typically pits the 5-foot-7 sophomore against the opponent’s top perimeter threat this season as the Lady Wildcats prepare for district and postseason play.

“I just bow down and work hard,” Johnson said. “I take it as a compliment that I get to guard one of the best guards in the state.”

Johnson and the rest of the Lady Cats travel to face Artesia today for their final pre-district game.

Meanwhile, the Clovis boys host Artesia (16-5) in a 7 p.m. tipoff today at Rock Staubus Gym.

Both Clovis teams open District 4-5A play next Friday against Hobbs.

“This will be a good game to get us going in district,” Johnson said. “(Hobbs) is always really good, and we’re always fired up to play them.”

Watters and boys coach J. D. Isler view today’s games differently.

Watters said it is important for the Lady Cats (12-5) to play well tonight and carry the momentum into district play.

“This is the time of year you’re hoping you start to play well,” Watters said. “Hopefully we can make strides every day.”

To be successful against the guard-loaded Lady Bulldogs (13-5), Watters said his team will need strong perimeter defense from Johnson and sophomore Mariah Sena.

As for the boys, Isler sees tonight as just another game for the Wildcats (16-2) — who beat Artesia 73-41 in the finals of the Artesia Invitational Dec. 9.

“We hope we’re tuned up all the time,” said Isler, whose team is coming off a 72-57 win at Borger on Tuesday night. “We told (the team) today that there are five teams in the state right now preparing to rise up and stay consistent. And we want to be one of those teams.”

What: Clovis at Artesia
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Artesia
Clovis leading scorers: Jr. Ebony Bunton scores 15.2./game, good for fourth in the state. Sr. Tori Northcutt nets 10.4/game.
Artesia at Clovis
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Rock Staubus Gym.
Quick facts: Clovis has four players scoring in double figures with Jaden Isler (17.5), Bryce Hill (14.0), Michael Lewis (13.5) and Cody Thornsbury (12.5) In Class 5A, only Hobbs has more in the top 30, with five.