Cats ease by Texico

If there were any concerns the Clovis Wildcats would play to the competition of Class 2A Texico, they were gone about three seconds in.

That's when Kamal Cass scored a layup off the opening tip, part of a 9-0 burst to start the game as the Wildcats never looked back in a 78-54 win Tuesday night at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.

D.J. Blackmon scored a game-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while John Dawson added 14 points and Dustin Smith a career-high 12 in the romp, quickly set in motion with a 24-5 first quarter.

CMI staff photo: Kevin WilsonClovis guard Andrew Anaya floats a shot over Texico defender Miguel Reyna in the fourth quarter Tuesday night at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. The Wildcats defeated Texico 78-54.

"The plan was really to get after them," said Cass, who scored eight points on 4-of-4 shooting. "We have a more talented team, but in games like this you sometimes come out slacking."

Once the Wildcats (12-6) got the early lead, they pulled back on their defensive pressure but kept things difficult for the visiting Wolverines, who shot 19-of-52 on the night.

"You've got to play every possession, you don't play to the score," Clovis coach Matt King said. "You respect the game and you respect your opponent. I don't think there was any kid on the bench or the floor looking at the scoreboard and playing to the score."

CMI photo: Kevin WilsonClovis guard Kamal Cass scores on a second-half layup during Tuesday night's game against Texico at The Rock. Cass tallied eight points on 4-for-4 shooting in the Wildcats' 78-54 win.

Texico (11-6), led by Miguel Reyna's 15 points, played well in stretches, but it was clear the teams were playing different games on the court.

"The pace of the game was hard for us to adjust to," Texico coach Ty Thatcher said. "We're used to having a couple of guys who are really quick, instead of all of their players are really quick. Even their big guys move quickly compared to the bigs we see in the smaller schools."

The game happened largely because Espanola Valley overbooked its schedule and canceled a scheduled game with the Wildcats. A New Mexico Activities Association rule would have resulted in the Sundevils forfeiting their regular-season finale if Clovis didn't find another opponent, and Texico was the first team to accept and have a common open date.

CMI photo: Kevin WilsonTexico guard Kendall Naceanceno drives the lane against Clovis' Andrew Anaya during the second quarter of Tuesday night's game at Rock Staubus Gym. Naceanceno scored seven points in Clovis' 78-54 win.

Thatcher said the game was fun at times, but the days leading up helped the team more. With the Wolverines using their last few practices to prep against an overwhelming favorite, Thatcher said the team is playing at a higher level going into district play Friday night at Santa Rosa.

The game was also welcome news for Clovis, which suffered a tough pair of home losses Friday and Saturday to La Cueva and Eldorado.

"It helps a lot," King said. "We did some good things last weekend, and we need to build on that."

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