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

Wildcats cruise to win over Hereford


December 23, 2018

CLOVIS — ‘Twas the Friday before Christmas, and all through the Rock ...

all the Wildcats were stirring, a win seemed a lock.

The numbers rung up on the scoreboard with care ...

with hopes that the mercy rule soon would be there.

In its last home game before the Christmas break, Clovis’ boys basketball team shot well, scrapped for second shots, distributed the ball and played good defense, all leading to a heartwarming 73-30 Yuletide rout of Hereford on Friday at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.

A close game early became a blowout by halftime and a 40-point affair by the third quarter’s end, allowing the Wildcats to carry a three-game winning streak into Saturday night’s road matchup at Rio Rancho.

And it gave them a much more complete victory than the wobbly one they had over Portales on Tuesday.

“This game was very similar to what the Portales game was — I felt like we were causing a lot of turnovers,” Clovis head coach Jaden Isler said. “But the difference tonight was that we made sure we caught the ball first before we went to do stuff with it, and we went and actually put it in the hole. The practice after the Portales game, we just really focused on going to contact and making sure we weren’t just trying to avoid getting it blocked. And we really put an effort in for about two hours on Wednesday to just make sure we were focusing on going to finish the shot.”

“Execution,” Wildcats junior point guard Dewayne Dawson, who netted a game-high 20 points, stated as the reason Clovis was able to pull away by halftime and pull even further away in the second half. “We moved the ball a lot and we found people who were hot and were able to score.”

Clovis led only 13-9 after one quarter, 16-11 minutes into the second. But the Wildcats then started taking control, starting with a shovel pass by Ro Morgan that found center Bryce Cabeldue open for an easy bucket inside.

Morgan assisted on another Cabeldue inside basket, and a Dawson steal began a possession that ended with two successful foul shots by Mason Figueroa to give Clovis its first double-digit lead of the night, 22-11.

Hereford’s Tanner Frische scored to make it a nine-point difference, and after a runner in the lane from Clovis’ Blake Muscato, Hereford’s Chris Ball scored to shave the margin back to nine.

But Anthony Gutierrez’s running banker put the Wildcats ahead 26-15 and, as it turned out, gave them a double-digit lead for good.

Hereford’s next possession was ended by a Josiah Lombrana steal, which led to a fast-break layup by Gutierrez. And on Clovis’ next possession, a one-handed flip-in by Lombrana made it a 30-15 game.

Muscato then stole the ball and drove for a layup to give the Wildcats a 17-point edge with roughly 30 seconds left before the break, and Muscato finished Clovis’ last possession of the half by sinking a pair of free throws with 10.2 seconds remaining before intermission.

Dawson began the third-quarter scoring with a trey, kicking off a 21-0 run to start the second half. That surge was capped off by a fast-break Dawson layup — nearly a dunk — making it 55-15 and completing an overall 31-0 run that had lasted from the second quarter into the third.

From there it was just a matter of finishing strong, which the Wildcats did.

“I thought we pressed really well, we rotated well, got good help from the bench,” Isler said. “I think our bench probably had as much scoring as our starting crew tonight, if not more. So overall, I thought we did some things better and we finished. That’s the game of basketball.”


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