Wildcats confident despite recent lull
Published: Saturday, February 12th, 2005
After cruising through the non-district season and early district season with a 17-2 record, the Clovis boys basketball team has hit a couple of potholes. The Wildcats have split their past four games, losing twice to Cibola in district while squeaking out wins to a pair of sub-.500 teams in Carlsbad and Class 4A Moriarty. However, Clovis coaches and players say the team is refocused as the District 4-5A season ticks down and the Cats are among four teams with two district losses. Because of a bye Friday, the Wildcats (19-4, 3-2 district) will have seven days to prepare for Tuesday’s game at Hobbs. “I think it’s just a matter of our defense slipped for about a two-week period but we’re back to where we want,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said. “I don’t think we’re tired, we’re in a good frame of mind, our practices have been good.” The Cats gave up 24 3-pointers in games at Cibola, Carlsbad and Moriarty, but then gave up only a single 3-pointer when Cibola visited Rock Staubus Gym. “For three games I didn’t think our defense was consistent, but after the Cibola game I feel real good about where our defense is at,” he said. “To win a championship, you’ve got to be playing well defensively, that’s why we put so much emphasis on it, because you’re not going to shoot well every night.” In addition to poor perimeter defense, Isler said Moriarty and Carlsbad were geared up for the Cats due to Clovis’ top-five ranking in Class 5A. “It’d be nice to beat every opponent by 20 points, but that’s not realistic, especially when everyone gets up to play you,” Isler said. The Cats were also missing key players for those games, as senior point guard Tizrick Phillips sat out the Carlsbad game for disciplinary reasons while senior post Tigg Bunton missed the second half of the Moriarty game after aggravating his injured ankle. At the same time, the Wildcats said they weren’t giving 100 percent against the Cavemen and Pintos. “We got away from playing hard,” Bunton said. “We probably got way too confident.” “We showed you how hard we could play against Cibola (Tuesday), we need to step it up and give it all we can against those teams,” Clovis senior guard John Props said. The problem in Tuesday’s loss to Cibola was turnovers, as the Cats turned the ball over twice as many times (22 to 11) as Cibola. “If we wouldn’t have had half the turnovers we had against Cibola, we would have beaten them,” Bunton said. Last year, the Cats went through a similar stretch early in district play, losing three of five games after starting the season 13-1. However, Isler said last year was different. The Cats had to play eventual state champion Eldorado twice and Clovis couldn’t match-up against 6-foot-9 Daniel Faris. The Cats also had a rough game at home against Hobbs.
Click Here To See More Stories Like This