Clovis got the roster it wanted, just in time to get the win they wanted.
A healthy Deven Crockett scored 17 to lead four in double figures, and 10 Wildcats scored in a 74-69 victory over rival Hobbs in their district opener Friday night at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
Logan Turnbow had 12 points and seven rebounds, and the Wildcats (11-8, 1-0 District 4-5A) got 10 each from Marcus Slocum and Lathan Lieb.
Lieb, a 6-foot-3 junior who transferred from Dora over the summer, gave Hobbs fits in his first varsity game of the season with 4-of-9 shooting on a variety of drives, post-ups and outside shots.
“We had Lieb tonight, and he can hit the 3, and that’s what we’ve been lacking, outside help,” said Crockett, who keyed a 14-2 run after Hobbs cut a fourth-quarter Wildcat lead to 52-50. “He’ll bring that to us.”
Lieb’s status is uncertain for Tuesday’s game at Carlsbad, as he took a pair of rough falls. He watched much of the second half with a pair of crutches at his side, and interim coach Scott Robinson said it’s a “wait and see” matter for Lieb.
The game was Clovis’ first without head coach J.D. Isler, whose year-long suspension by the New Mexico Activities Association was reinstated in place by a federal judges ruling earlier this week. He’s accused of recruiting, an allegation he denies.
Robinson said the Wildcats succeeded in their defense on Hobbs guard Shelby Reeves, who scored a season-low 11 points, and on the boards, where they held a 35-23 advantage.
“Shelby’s a great player,” Robinson said. “We felt he was the key. If he got on track, scored 25 or 30, this game was going to be a lot tougher.
“We wanted to make jump shooters out of them as much as we could. They miss shots, you’ve got to get the rebounds. Logan Turnbow and Marcus Slocum did a good job.”
Slocum, playing in his first Hobbs-Clovis game knew a game against Hobbs would simply come down to possessions.
“If you get an offensive rebound, it gives you another chance,” said Slocum, who pulled down a game-high eight boards. “You get a defensive rebound, they lose a chance.”
The Wildcats, meanwhile, shot 50 percent and had several players come to the aid of Turnbow, who faced blanket coverage most of the night and got half of his scoring from the line.
Crockett, meanwhile, lived on the drive, with most of his nine field goals coming on layups as he found holes in the Hobbs press. He said Hobbs puts up a great wave of defensive pressure, and succeeds by making players rush shots if they can weave through it.
“You’ve just got to keep your balance,” said Crockett, “keep your composure and then take the basket.”
Brandon Marinovich scored a game-high 20 for Hobbs, but needed 20 shots. Jordan Lee scored 19 points, including an emphatic dunk during an 11-2 run early in the third quarter.
Hobbs coach Russ Gilmore said it was tough to get into an offensive flow.
“It was a physical game,” Gilmore said. “It was tough to get a lot of rhythm.”
Hobbs opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run, but the Wildcats responded with seven different players scoring in a 20-7 run to put the game on ice.
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