If the Clovis Wildcats have to play a tougher week on the road this season, it will probably be in the state tournament.
Tonight, there’s the matter of payback in Lubbock, as Clovis faces Trinity Christian. Then Friday’s stage is set at Ralph Tasker Arena, where Hobbs and Clovis will again clash for District 4-5A supremacy.
These are the situations Clovis (14-7) has played such a brutal schedule for, coach J.D. Isler said.
“We’ve been through tough stretches,” Isler said after Monday’s practice for Clovis, winners of three straight. “We had Gallup-Highland-Trinity back-to-back-to-back. It’s not like we’re not used to playing tough teams in a row.”
And few come tougher than the Lions, 24-4 on the season. Trinity Christian has hit 32 3-pointers in its last two games, 16 of them from the hands of leading scorer Tyler Kennedy.
The other guard Clovis is worried about is 5-foot-3 sophomore point guard Luke Adams. If Trinity gets a lead, Isler said, the Lions limit the opposing possessions by spreading out their offense and trusting Adams to make good decisions.
That’s what the Lions did in holding off the Wildcats 69-61 two weeks ago.
“The later the game gets, if they have a lead, the better he gets,” Isler said of Adams. “He’s smart and he handles the ball well and he shoots his free throws well.”
Isler has said a big factor would be keeping senior post Arthur Calbert in the game. Calbert was riddled with foul trouble in the previous matchup against Trinity, and his presence means teams can’t just load up defensively against leading scorer Jaye Crockett.
“I’ve just got to be out of foul trouble,” Calbert said. “I want to help the team. I can’t help out when I’m on the bench.”
Isler has said he wants to avoid any seeds lower than seventh because opening-round matchups aren’t preferable beyond that. There are nine Class 5A teams with fewer losses so far than the Wildcats’ seven — and Hobbs is the only one Clovis faces.
“The time to catch them is getting slimmer and slimmer, because we’re running out of games.”