The Clovis girls are trying to safeguard from what would be a giant upset, while the Clovis boys face a Class 4A squad that’s been pretty comfortable against 5A teams this season.
The Lady Wildcats (13-4) host struggling Rio Rancho in a 5:30 p.m. tilt to open the two-day Milk Cow Classic. Clovis plays only one game in the event, with inclement weather causing schedule changes that canceled a Saturday contest with Roswell. Moriarty will not be coming, and Roswell and Rio Rancho will play in a 5:30 p.m. game Saturday instead.
In Friday’s nightcap, the Clovis boys look for their second-straight win with Espanola Valley, the top-ranked team in Class 4A, coming into town. The Wildcats (9-7) are on the road Saturday against Goddard.
Just two days after Clovis survived a 30-28 scare at Class 3A Portales, girls coach Jeff Reed said there’s no chance the Lady Cats will take Rio Rancho (3-11) lightly, despite their struggles.
“I know they lost all their main players to Cleveland when they split, so they’re struggling,” Reed said of Rio Rancho, coming off a 58-16 loss to Sandia. “I told my girls they’re struggling this year, but they only lost by seven to Cleveland, so we need to not take them lightly.”
The Lady Cats struggled at Portales from the outside, hitting just one 3-pointer. That will have to change this weekend, Reed said.
“I’ve got a feeling Rio Rancho’s going to play a zone,” Reed said. “We’re going to have to take good shots, and we’re going to have to hit shots late.”
The team may be without guard Kayla Ware, who has missed practice this week with a toothache, Reed said.
For the boys, the Sundevils (16-1) have won 10 straight and are 7-1 against Class 5A teams this season.
“We’ve got to make sure we are the aggressor,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said. “Against Highland, we were passive and against Cleveland, we were the aggressor.”
Espanola Valley is playing Hobbs on Saturday, and scheduled Clovis to get a pair of 5A opponents in the same weekend. The Wildcats, meanwhile, have a Saturday matchup at 4A Roswell Goddard.
Clovis (8-7) has been idle since a 65-51 win over Cleveland last weekend, but injuries still happened in the meantime. Isler said senior forward Kyler Brewer-Hill dislocated his shoulder during Sunday’s practice, and has not practiced this week.
The injury was from football season, but Brewer-Hill opted to delay surgery that would have kept him out of basketball and golf seasons. Isler said Brewer-Hill will probably play.
Junior guard Deven Crockett, meanwhile, has been playing through a case of turf toe, but Isler said a knee injury has resulted because Crockett put extra pressure on some muscles to compensate for the injury. Isler considers Crockett to be questionable.
Whoever handles the ball for Clovis, Isler said, will have to deal with a trapping Sundevils defense.
“We’ve had trouble taking care of the ball,” Isler said. “We’re at 18 turnovers a game. The games where we’re taking care of the ball, we’re winning handily.
“We’ve got to handle pressure, and we’ve got to give pressure in return.”
CHS BASKETBALL CAPSULES
Espanola Valley (16-1) at Clovis (8-7) Friday, Clovis at Roswell Goddard (5-9) Saturday, both games 7 p.m.
Radio: KCLV-AM 1240, KRMQ-FM 101.5.
Last game: The Sundevils defeated Capital 89-66 for their 10th-straight win. The Wildcats defeated Cleveland 65-51 to snap a three-game skid. The Rockets faced Class 3A Dexter Thursday night, and lost 60-58 last week to Alamogordo.
Sundevils players to watch: PG Rodney Coles, 5-8, 140, Jr.; F Richie Mondragon, 5-11, 185, Jr.; F Luis Alvarado 6-4, 160, Sr.
Goddard players to watch: C Chris Clees, 6-4, Sr.; G Ryan French, 5-10, Sr.
Rio Rancho (3-11) at Clovis (13-4), 5:30 p.m. today.
Radio: KCLV-FM 99.1.
Last game: Rio Rancho absorbed a 58-16 loss to Sandia, its seventh loss in eight games. Clovis survived for a 30-28 win at Portales Tuesday.
— Compiled by Kevin Wilson