Cats extend winning streak

Clovis Dominique Easterlin scored 21 points and added 14 rebounds against Frenship. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.

By Dave Wagner

Don’t tell the Frenship Tigers, but the Clovis High boys basketball team may be going through some midseason doldrums.

On a night where there didn’t seem to be much energy in the building, it took the Wildcats a quarter to get untracked. By halftime, though, they had the game well in hand and went on to a 71-46 victory at Rock Staubus Gym.

The Cats (14-1) put together their second seven-game winning streak of the season behind 21 points and 14 rebounds from junior forward Dominique Easterlin, 18 points from senior forward Justin Pinckney and 12 points, six rebounds and eight assists from senior point guard Bud Willis.

“I thought we played hard, but we didn’t play sharp,” CHS boys coach J.D. Isler said. “But you can’t fault the defensive effort when you hold someone to 46 points.”

Frenship (7-10) turned the ball over 28 times — all but three of them coming in the first three quarters — and managed just 33 shots from the field, largely due to Clovis’ defensive pressure.

“It was sloppy both ways,” said Tigers coach Jason Dear, whose team was without starting shooting guard Brenton Welch (sprained ankle) and backup point guard Tyler Lyons (slipped disc). “We handled their pressure in the first quarter (which ended with CHS leading 12-9), but we just turned the ball over too much. There’s no way you can win basketball games that way.”

Dear had praise for Pinckney, who shot 7-for-13 from the field.

“That No. 24 can really score,” he said of Pinckney. “I was really impressed with that kid.

“Clovis just plays so hard defensively, and especially at home they get after you even more.”

The Cats shot 42 percent from the field, and it was worse than that until they went 8-for-12 in the fourth quarter.

“We just started out slow,” said junior guard Elliott Hita said. “We missed a couple of easy baskets (early), and we got a little frustrated.

“We just have to keep trying to improve. Our (intensity) was up in the beginning of the season, and we need to get that up again.”

Isler said the Cats, perhaps in need of a good test with District 4-5A play looming in a couple of weeks, could get one on Friday against Coronado in Lubbock.

“I think Coronado will be a tough game on the road,” he said. “I think our concentration fluctuated tonight, but we’re going to have to go to Coronado and keep our concentration for 32 minutes.”