CNJ BOYS BASKETBALL: Cats hope to get back in action today

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Clovis High’s boys weren’t able to get right back on the court after absorbing their second loss of the season on Friday, a 97-91 verdict at Rio Rancho.

A Saturday afternoon game at Sandia was called off to give the team a better chance of getting back to Clovis in the snow.

The Wildcats (15-2) hope to return to action today with a trip to Borger, Texas, but with school canceled today due to road conditions CHS athletic director Brian Stacy said a decision on the 6:30 p.m. (MST) game won’t be made until this morning.

The Bulldogs (16-6 prior to the weekend) would figure to present a stiff challenge for the Cats, Clovis coach J.D. Isler said. Borger is ranked fourth in the Amarillo Globe-News’ Class 3-5A poll, while the Cats are fifth.

“It’s going to be one of those games where they’re going to try to control the tempo, and we’re going to try to get it up and down the floor,” Isler said.

Junior guard Bryce Hill said a slow start came back to haunt the Cats at Rio Rancho.

“We just came out sluggish the first half, and we had a lot of turnovers,” said Hill, who had six 3-pointers and 22 points in the game. “We did some things better in the second half.

“If we’d come out (the first half) like we did the second half, I think we’d have pulled it out.”

The top-ranked Rams (16-1) handed Clovis its only other loss — a 97-95 overtime verdict in the finals of the Milk Cow Classic on Dec. 30 at Rock Staubus Gym.

Isler said the Cats are relatively pleased with how they’re playing, although he said they didn’t play well enough on defense at Rio Rancho.

“We were disappointed in losing, but it tells us where we’re at,” he said of the game. “Hopefully, we earned a little respect by going up there and playing well on their home court.

“I think if we could’ve ever gotten the lead, it might have put a little pressure on them.”

Hill figures the game against Borger will come down to a battle of styles.

“They’re going to try to take away our (fast-break) game,” he said. “We’ve got to come out and put the pressure on them, and try to keep the tempo up.”