The Clovis boys are seeking, at home, what has been status quo for their female counterparts on the road.
Both Clovis teams will be in action Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Rock Staubus Gymnasium. The Clovis girls, 6-1, look for their second tournament title in three attempts when they host Shiprock in a 6 p.m. match — the last of four Monday games at the Plateau Holiday Classic.
The Wildcats, 4-3, will follow with a 7:30 matchup against Rio Grande in the nightcap of the Southwest Dairy Farmers Classic.
Clovis teams will play in the 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. time slots, regardless of wins or losses.
Second-year girls coach Jeff Reed said other than a 70-66 loss to host Gallup in the Gallup Invitational, things are going great heading into the team’s first home action of the season.
“I’m really satisfied,” said Reed, whose Wildcat squad is coming off a 63-37 thrashing of previously-undefeated Lovington. “We tried to have a goal before Christmas to be 7-0 and have two championships under our belt. We played for one, got second place, we won another.”
Now, Reed said, there are two more goals, which both rely on the other — to win the Plateau Classic and to go undefeated at Rock Staubus this season.
But Shiprock won’t be a pushover, Reed said. The Chieftains have lost their two games by a combined four points — including a 62-61 loss to Gallup in a contest they led by 20 at one point.
Other invites include Texico, winners of two of the last three Class 2A titles, Class 3A runnerup Portales and both the Class 5A champ (La Cueva) and runnerup (Cibola, who knocked out Clovis in last year’s 5A quarterfinals).
Clovis will play the winner of the 10 a.m. tournament opener between Portales and La Cueva.
“They’re very talented,” Portales coach Clay Stout said. “They’ve got a really good post that runs the floor well. Their other kids are very good athletes.
“They’ve got all of the pieces.”
Stout said the girls, 4-2 following a 32-21 win over Muleshoe last week, aren’t where they need to be. But he hopes a tough bracket will help the squad before district play in February.
“It doesn’t matter who we play,” Stout said. “We all want to win, but more importantly, are we getting better every night?”
The Clovis boys, in a season already full of off-the-court distractions, are hoping they’ll continue some momentum off of a 91-39 win Monday over Rio Rancho. The Wildcats face Los Lunas, and a win would give ninth-year Clovis coach J.D. Isler his 500th career victory. He is 499-201 overall, with a 170-60 mark at Clovis.
“We don’t know a lot about Los Lunas other than what we’ve seen them do in the past,” said Isler. “We’re kind of going into this one more concerned about what we do. We feel like we took a step our last game and we want to continue that.”
Isler is coaching the Wildcats under a court injunction. The New Mexico Activities Association suspended him for the season earlier this month on charges of recruiting, and Clovis Municipal Schools subsequently relieved him of coaching duties, but both actions were put on hold two Fridays ago by Judge Teddy Hartley’s decision to allow Isler to coach until the matter could be resolved in court. Isler has declined comment on the issue.
Each Clovis team has some injury woes. Junior guard Deven Crockett has a case of “turf toe,” but he’ll still play limited minutes in the tournament. For the girls, senior guard Alicia Viscaino hurt her leg at Lovington, and a diagnosis for Monday is still in the air, Reed said.
The Portales boys, meanwhile, do some traveling. They head to Las Vegas, N.M. for the annual Stu Clark Tournament. The tournament, longtime Ram coach Mark Gallegos said, usually gives his team a chance to grow.
“We go up there because we get to see some different people,” Gallegos said. “It’s a good experience for our team to bond, go somewhere, and get a little better.”
The Rams (2-3) face Artesia in a 3 p.m. quarterfinal Monday, with West Las Vegas or Shiprock in the second round.
“Artesia’s kind of in the same boat we are,” Gallegos said of last year’s 4A runnerup. “They’re a brand new team just like we are. Graduation hit them pretty hard, and they lost (guard) Derek (Montoya), who was probably the best kid in 4A last year.”
Trent Johnson, who missed the last two games with an ankle injury, is expected to return for Portales.