PLAINVIEW, Texas — The Clovis Wildcats cut an 11-point deficit to two in the final minutes, but couldn’t get the final push in a 68-65 loss Friday.
The loss marked the end of a day where Clovis coach J.D. Isler spent time in two very different courts.
With his team already on the bus to Texas, Isler spent the afternoon in the Curry County Courthouse, where he was granted an injunction against a season-long suspension from the New Mexico Activities Association on accusations of recruiting.
The injunction from judge Teddy Hartley has temporarily put his suspension, and Clovis Municipal Schools’ subsequent decision to relieve him of coaching duties, on hold. After the decision came down, Isler drove himself to Plainview in time to coach a game that he said came down to a difference in experience.
“We’re still going through some growing pains and we’ve faced some adverstiy,” Isler said. “That was their 15th game, and it was our sixth. I don’t want our team to judge themselves on wins and losses at this point.”
Rick Jackson scored 21 to lead the Bulldogs (11-5).
Marcus Slocum scored 17 to lead three in double figures for Clovis (3-3), which hosts Rio Rancho Tuesday night.
Isler said that although the score didn’t reflect it, the Bulldogs and Wildcats were in one of the faster-paced games for Clovis so far.
“They were extremely athletic,” Isler said. “They were very quick. We just never could get it tied up.
“We felt like if we could get it tied, we could make another push.”
Regarding his suspension and accusations of recruiting, Isler said he would have no comment other than to proclaim his innocence and intention to fight the charges.
He said the team has handled the situation well.
“I think the kids have really circled the wagons,” Isler said. “We’re a family and our main concern is to take care of each other and represent Clovis well. I know the wins will take care of themselves.”
Logan Turnbow added 13 and the Wildcats got 12 points from junior guard Deven Crockett, who became eligible Friday under transfer rules.
“He gave us a penetrating guard people really have to honor,” Isler said of Crockett. “He brings an energy to the floor. I thought he played exceptionally well.”