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

Isler named state's top coach

USA Today places Ferguson on second team


April 18, 2018

Christopher Cook

Jaden Isler was named New Mexico's girls basketball coach of the year by USA Today High School Sports Tuesday.

ELIDA — The Elida Tigers received national recognition Tuesday from USA Today High School Sports, with Jaden Isler named New Mexico's girls basketball coach of the year.

Isler, 28, was credited for leading the Tigers to their eighth-consecutive small-school title. Isler has been the coach for the last four. He became coach in the middle of the 2014-15 season after his father and former Tigers coach J.D. Isler died in a car accident.

Isler found out he received the award early Tuesday afternoon when he got sent a link to the USA Today story. His surprise was two-fold.

"I didn't know USA Today did a poll for each state," Isler said. "Also being at a 1A school, it's really hard to usually (win a state award). We don't have as big of a viewing. We have had a lot of success, but it can go unnoticed."

The publication also named guard Elida guard Lacy Ferguson to the all-state second team.

"I thought that was a pretty good honor, early in my career," Isler said. "But for a 1A athlete to be in the top 10 players, what an accomplishment that is. I was really proud to see her get that."

Ferguson, who plans to play basketball next season at Western Texas Junior College, averaged 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals for the Tigers, who went 25-7 on the season.

The player of the year was Cibola's Amaya Brown, who also claimed her second Gatorade Player of the Year award.


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