Clovis High alum Jeff Reed is ready to tackle his first assignment as a girls basketball coach.
Reed and the Lady Wildcats officially opened practice on Monday, looking to improve on last year’s 12-17 mark.
While acknowledging some differences, Reed said it isn’t a big deal whether it’s coaching boys or girls.
“For the most part, it’s just coaching basketball,” he said. “I’m going to coach the girls like athletes, not like a girl and not like a boy.”
Reed, who coached Clovis freshman boys basketball last year after stints in boys programs at Clayton, Pampa and Dalhart, has most of his key varsity players available now. Junior Antiesha Brown and senior Leia Willis are still participating in volleyball.
The Lady Cats, who scrimmage at Santa Fe High on Nov. 22, open the season three nights later at Portales. They won’t play at home until hosting their annual holiday tournament Dec. 29-31.
“We’ve got a long ways to go,” he said. “I think we have one of the toughest schedules in the state. We’re going to be road-tested, and we’ll have to get tough really fast.
“We have basically a different team (from last year). We’re asking some girls who didn’t play much varsity to step up.”
Clovis’ boys, meantime, hope to mount another strong season after going 29-2 and losing to rival Hobbs in last spring’s Class 5A state final. Eighth-year coach J.D. Isler admits it’ll be a challenge after major graduation losses, particularly in the backcourt, but he thinks the Wildcats are capable.
“I like this team,” he said. “I think our chemistry is going to be good, and I think we have good character.
“I think our guard play will be better than what people realize.”
The Cats have five varsity players still involved in football. Because of that, Isler intentionally schedules a late start to the season.
Clovis, led by 6-foot-7 senior Jaye Crockett, opens at home Dec. 8 against Dumas — the first of five games in a six-night span.
“We don’t really have any choice,” Isler said. “When you start that late you just have to jump in and start playing.
“The good thing is we’re getting basketball players out of football, instead of trying to make basketball players out of football players.”