By Dave Wagner
CNJ SPORTS WRITER
If ever there was a time for a breather on the schedule, Monday night was it for the Clovis High’s boys.
Fresh off a tournament championship in the Capital City Invitational at Santa Fe, and playing their fifth game in seven nights, the Wildcats made short work of overmatched Dumas, Texas, in an 80-34 rout at Rock Staubus Gym.
Senior guard Lathan Lieb scored 19 of his 27 points in the first half and the Cats (6-0) took Dumas out of the game with hard man-to-man and fullcourt pressure in the opening quarter. The second half was played with a running clock.
“We need repetitions,” CHS coach J.D. Isler said. “They were a little outmanned. We just wanted to play hard to be respectful of them, and I think we did that.”
Clovis held a 26-4 lead before Dumas sophomore Ryan Gerber hit a 3-pointer from in front of the Cats’ bench as the first quarter ended. That started a brief 8-0 spurt for the Class 4A Demons (2-11), but the Cats quickly regained control.
By halftime, it was 53-14.
“We’re very young,” Demons coach Marcus Klingsick said. “I told (the team), ‘This’ll be a great experience for us to get us ready for our district.”
For the game, the Cats shot 59 percent (31-of-53), hitting 7-of-11 from 3-point range. Lieb went 10-of-12 from the floor and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
“It was a different style of game,” said senior forward Craig Cook, who finished well below his scoring average with four points but had half of the team’s eight assists. “We had other people who had more (scoring) opportunities. I just tried to do my role — rebound and create opportunities for other people.”
All 11 Wildcats in uniform scored, with sophomore guard D.J. Blackmon adding 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting. The Cats forced Dumas into 24 turnovers, with 11 coming in the opening stanza.
Clovis dominated the boards 32-22, led by Blackmon and senior Lincoln Nora with eight rebounds apiece. The Cats finished the game with only three personal fouls.
“That’s something we talk about all the time,” Isler said. “We have to be a good rebounding team.”
Junior Clayton Baker was the Demons’ top scorer with nine points.
Klingsick said he hoped to build off a win by his team on Friday.
“Clovis is just so good athletically,” he said. “We just don’t see that kind of athleticism very often.”
The Cats return to action this weekend, playing at Onate on Friday night and at Alamogordo on Saturday afternoon. Isler said Onate (6-1) is ranked No. 1 in the New Mexico Preps poll, while Clovis is No. 2.
“We’ve got to get ourselves rested and be ready physically and mentally for those games,” Cook said.