The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Clovis teams split Friday games


December 2, 2017

Kevin Wilson

Clovis' Madison Tolbert and Texico's Maryelle Dickerman go to the floor for a loose ball in Friday's game at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. The Wildcats topped Texico 53-38.

CLOVIS — Clovis’ girls basketball team punched one into the left-side column Friday night, bagging its first win of the season, 53-38, over Texico in the Strength and Sass Shootout.

In doing so, the Lady Wildcats also won their home opener at Rock Staubus Gymnasium, pulling away from the Lady Wolverines, who had forged a 10-all tie late in the first quarter and trailed only 12-10 at the start of the second.

Madison Tolbert gave the Lady ’Cats a second-quarter boost, scoring eight of her team-high 11 in that period, six of those points coming from the foul line. Overall, Tolbert was 8-of-12 from the stripe, erasing the memory of a 1-for-9 nightmare in Tuesday’s season opener at Hobbs.

“I think she took it to heart, being 1-for-9 from the free-throw line (against Hobbs),” Clovis head coach Jeff Reed said. “She has a knack to draw fouls. If she’s going to keep doing that, she’s going to have to make those shots.”

“I don’t know what it was tonight,” Tolbert said. “I guess I just took my time (at the line), did what I had to do.”

Tolbert’s eight points accounted for more than half the Lady Wildcats’ 15 for the quarter, which was their highest single-quarter output of the game. Her efforts helped Clovis transform a 12-10 score to 27-17 by halftime.

“We just had some things go our way (after the first quarter), and we finished shots,” Reed said. “I think (it was) scoring; that’s a big deal to be able to put the ball in the hole.”

“We really shut them down on defense,” Tolbert said. “Coach Reed told us if we played good defense we could hold them under 50.”

An inside bucket from Clovis’ Kaydee Weaver opened the second-half scoring, and the Lady ’Cats stayed in command the rest of the way.

“It’s nice to get a win on our home floor,” Reed said, “in our first home game of the season.”

“I think they executed their offense and defense better that we did,” said Texico head coach Richard Luscombe, whose Lady Wolves endured their first loss of the season. “They got to the free-throw line a whole lot more than we did. ... We did a lot of things that are not characteristic of us, but they’re all correctable.”

Clovis is back in action tonight against Portales.

“It’ll be a tough test for us,” Reed said. “It’ll be a tough game down at the end, I think. I hope we can compete with them.”

Despite being a 6A team playing a 3A (Texico) and a 4A (Portales) this weekend, Reed thinks his team’s mettle is being tested against fine competition nonetheless.

“We’re playing the best of 3A and 4A,” he said.

Clovis boys lose heartbreaker

This was it, the blistering pace Clovis boys basketball head coach Jeff Robinson had promised before the start of the season.

The Wildcats ran like crazy in Friday’s home game against Hobbs, something they had tried to do in last Saturday’s home opener against Rio Rancho, but had been continually met with pressure at half-court.

Friday, both arch rivals Clovis and Hobbs were keeping it up-tempo, in front of a loud, enthusiastic crowd at The Rock. The enthusiasm died down at the game’s tail-end, however, when the ’Cats lost a 79-76 heartbreaker.

Clovis had only a few seconds to push the ball down and try for the tie, and Bryce Cabeldue looked for an open man to dish to, wheeling around at the right elbow and passing to Brandon Romero in the right corner.

Romero couldn’t get his shot off before the buzzer. And it missed anyway, as Clovis dropped to 1-2 on the young season.

It was a fun game for the fans to watch, even if it wasn’t too much fun for Clovis at the end.

“It had the feeling of a Clovis-Hobbs game, both teams getting out in transition and running and getting up and down the floor,” Robinson said. “Our problems aren’t so much offensively as they are defensively. We’ve got to tighten things up defensively and we’ve got to take care of the ball better. If we get those two things under control, we’re going to start winning some ballgames.”

The Wildcats had led Friday’s ballgame 74-69 with less than two minutes to play, but Hobbs accounted for 10 of the last 11 points scored in a furious run to its first victory of the season.

Even after three consecutive baskets put the Eagles up by one, Romero calmly sank two foul shots with 54.1 seconds remaining to give Clovis the lead again. Just 14 seconds later, though, Hobbs’ Clay Strasner was at the line, hitting two shots that lifted the Eagles back into the lead.

On the other end, Clovis’ Jakeem Wynn drove straight to the hoop for a shot, trying to give his team the advantage again, but his attempt spun around and out.

Kevin Wilson

Bryce Cabeldue goes up for a layup in the first half Friday against Hobbs.

“If a few of those would’ve dropped for us, we’d be having a different conversation,” Robinson said. “We just had some bad possessions late. Bad possessions offensively and defensively, a couple of possessions where we don’t get a rebound. Too many mistakes to overcome at the end.”

Strasner was a handful all night long, making jumpers, off-balance shots, putbacks, free throws, adding up to a game-high 34. It seemed whenever the Eagles needed to sink one, more often than not it was Strasner doing the sinking.

“Yeah, he’s one of the better players in the state for sure.” Robinson said. “He’s a good player. He knows how to play. He knows how to use his body to put himself in good positions.”

Clovis will try to climb back to .500 tonight, when Cleveland visits The Rock.


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