CHS BASKETBALL: Lady Cats’ Bunton earns 5A all-state

Clovis High’s Ebony Bunton, shown in the recent Class 5A girls state championship game against Mayfield in Albuquerque, was named to the Associated Press’ 5A girls all-state first team. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

Staff and wire reports

ALBUQUERQUE — Five members of Clovis High’s basketball team were accorded Class 5A all-state honors on Wednesday, including junior guard Ebony Bunton on the girls’ first team.

Bunton helped the Lady Wildcats reach the Class 5A state championship game before they lost to Mayfield 61-42. The Lady Cats (22-6) took a 13-game winning streak into that contest.

Senior guard Tori Northcutt, whose last-second basket beat Gallup 39-37 in the state semifinals, earned an honorable mention selection.

Clovis put three players on the boys squad. Junior guard Jaden Isler made the 5A first team, while senior post Michael Lewis and junior guard Bryce Hill earned honorable mention for the Wildcats (23-6), who lost to La Cueva 62-60 in the 5A state quarterfinals.

Coach J.D. Isler noted that the Cats set state records this season for 3-pointers made in a game (16 against Portales on Jan. 27), breaking the mark of 14 set by Cliff in 1993 and matched by Valley in 2004, and in a season (194), breaking Cliff’s record in 1993.

He added that senior guard Cody Thornsbury’s 131 career 3-pointers broke the school mark of 105 by Michael Kopenits, and Jaden’s Isler’s 222 assists this year bettered Bud Willis’ three-year-old standard of 194.

Texico junior Courtland Luscombe made the Class 2A boys first team, while junior Daniel Schueler was an honorable mention selection.

Junior guard Faith Martin earned honorable mention status for Texico’s girls, who captured the 2A state championship with a 41-38 win over Penasco.

Hobbs’ Jeff Taylor for the boys and Mayfield’s Madison Spence for the girls were unanimous all-state selections.

The 6-foot-7 Taylor, a junior who speaks five languages and moved to Hobbs from Sweden last fall, set school single-season record with 858 points, a 28.6 average, in leading the Eagles to a 28-2 record.

Taylor also averaged 16.7 rebounds a game. His father, Jeff Taylor Sr., starred for the Eagles in the ’80s.

“His pure athleticism fits into our system,” Hobbs coach Russ Gilmore said. “His ability to turn a game around with his flashes to the basket. How he can take a ball off the rim and lead the fast break.”

Spence averaged 25.9 points a game and 6.1 assists as the floor leader of the state champion Lady Trojans (28-1), and made the first team for the second year in a row. She scored 31 points in Mayfield’s 61-42 win over Clovis in the 5A state championship game.

She received considerable recruiting attention from schools like Texas Tech, USC, Washington, Vanderbilt and Arkansas, but ultimately decided to stay home and play for her dad, Darin Spence, at New Mexico State next season.

“We need good players, too,” he said, adding that she could be the Aggies’ starting point guard next year.

Spence said having Madison on the team next year should not only make the Aggies better, but it will give him a chance to catch up on time lost as a parent.

“I get to spend the next four years with one of my kids,” Spence said. “Obviously being a coach, you miss some years. It will be good just being able to share those years with her.”