A drive to Lubbock beats a drive to Wichita Falls, and a win certainly beats a loss.
The Clovis Wildcats got the better end of both Friday night, holding off a Matador challenge in the second half to claim a 63-61 win against Eldorado.
Willie McCray scored a career-high 25 points for Clovis (17-6), who played without leading scorer D.J. Blackmon, who had a death in the family.
“We’re always going to miss D.J. from the lineup,” Clovis coach Matt King said. “Kids stepped up. We’re glad he got to be with his family, and we’re wishing him the best of times in a tough situation.”
Drew Cole was the only other double-figure scorer for the Wildcats with 13 points. John Dawson added nine and Kamal Cass eight for the Wildcats.
Robert McKinney scored 10 to lead the Matadors (13-18), who rode a balanced attack with eight players scoring between five and 10 each.
"They shot it really well in the second half," King said. "They’ve got some talented kids. It was a good thing for us. Not only was it good because it was a quality opponent, but they play a very similar style to the two teams in our district. It was positive."
The game was originally scheduled to be a neutral-site game against Wichita Falls Hirschi, but scheduling for the overall showcase at Lubbock Christian University fell through and the Wildcats picked a game at Estacado over the trip to Wichita Falls to face Hirschi.
Back in New Mexico, the Hobbs Eagles got on track in District 4-5A play, routing Carlsbad 88-50 behind 24 points from Dane Pannell and 20 from Adrian Sanchez.
The win means that Clovis, 2-0 in district, clinches the regular-season district title and will host the March 2 title game with either a win Tuesday at Carlsbad (16-8, 1-2) or Friday night at home against the Eagles (18-6, 1-2).