If you’re going into Ralph Tasker Arena with a district championship on the line, you’ll want to be playing your best basketball of the season. Clovis can check that one off.
The Wildcats have won five straight — all by double figures, by an average of more than 29 points — leading up to a bid to repeat as District 4-5A champs tonight at Hobbs.
Despite playing Thursday night, the Wildcats (18-9) have had ample time to rest. That’s because they jumped out to a 19-3 lead early on Carlsbad and unloaded the bench to close out an 83-29 victory.
“We got to sit (our starters) out for the fourth quarter, get some of those kids playing time,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said.
Hobbs (21-5) will be seeded higher than Clovis no matter who wins tonight due to new rules rewarding regular season champions, but the Wildcats still have a reasonable chance to move up the Class 5A ladder before Sunday’s seeding committee meeting.
“If we go in there and win, we’ve got an opportunity to be a 4 or 5 seed,” Isler said. “If we don’t win, I don’t think we’re any lower than seven.”
Hobbs has been idle since its 78-63 loss at Rock Staubus Gym a week ago, and is hosting tonight’s game thanks to a point-differential advantage from their 84-62 victory over Clovis Feb. 6.
The Eagles will be the highest seeded team in 4-5A, but would be hard-pressed to gain one of the state’s top two seeds with a two-game losing streak going into state.
To prevent that, they’ll try to stop Jaye Crockett, Clovis’ leading scorer and rebounder. Though the Wildcats got balanced scoring in the last matchup, Crockett is still the key after his 38-point, 14-rebound outing.
“I think they may try to run some different guys at Jaye, and try to body him. We talked about that today in practice. It’s just a matter of Jaye being patient for his shots, because we’re going to get the ball in his hands.”
“We need to make sure we take a good shot every time down the floor.”