Cats ready for quick transition
Published: Sunday, December 9th, 2007
After a back-and-forth state championship game like Friday’s double-overtime thriller against Mayfield, it’s understandable if the Clovis Wildcats need a little bit of recovery time and practice before they hit the basketball court. One practice had better be enough. That’s all the prep time the Wildcats get between Friday’s 49-48 loss and Tuesday’s basketball season opener against Amarillo High. Clovis, coming off a 23-6 mark in 2006-07, originally had a season opener last Tuesday at Dumas, Texas, but coach J.D. Isler canceled the game rather than send what would essentially be the junior varsity squad and junior guard Jaye Crockett. The roster currently features 11 — Crockett, 10 returning players and one spot Isler holds open for a junior varsity player to earn. Crockett is the only Wildcat who wasn’t lacing up cleats on Friday. While his teammates were practicing for a state football title through November and early December, he’s been practicing with his eyes on a state basketball title. “(That) gets me really motivated, since I’m only in basketball,” said the 6-foot-5 Crockett. “Since eighth grade, it’s all I’ve done.” Despite the difference in experience, Isler knows the others have similar motivation after losing in last year’s state quarterfinals. “We’re going into the season with players that expect to be in the state tournament and have an opportunity to play for the title,” Isler said. “It helps when the kids have that goal and not just the coaches.” But competitive drive is no replacement for conditioning, and conditioning for smash-mouth football is nothing like conditioning for a motion offense and full-court press defense. Isler just has to be optimistic that playoff experience, whether it be from football or last year’s basketball run, carries over. “I think we’re a very seasoned ballclub,” Isler said. “They’ve been in a lot of big games, they’ve been at the state tournament.” They’ll likely get back there with a heavy mix of shooting. Isler said his players “have to earn the green light,” but it’s evident a lot of players have. Clovis set two state records for 3-pointers last year, and the Cats expect to come near those marks this season. “We want people to have to worry about that (so) we can penetrate,” Crockett said, “and we should also have a good post game.” They may have to shoot threes to keep defenses honest, since Crockett is the tallest Wildcat and he plays a lot on the perimeter. The lack of height may be a challenge if the team perhaps faces Cibola in the holiday Milk Cow Classic, or when the Wildcats tackle District 4-5A play and the Hobbs Eagles. Jeff Taylor, the 6-foot-7 forward currently being recruited by UNLV, Texas Tech and Gonzaga, already has the Eagles off to a 6-0 record. “I think they’re probably going to be the preseason No. 1,” Isler said of the Eagles last week. “I think we should be in the top three.” CHS BOYS BASKETBALL Roster No. Name Ht. Yr. Pos. 3 Bryce Hill 6-0 Sr. G 4 Stefan Mills 5-8 Jr. G 10 Jordan Mendoza 6-2 Sr. F 12 Manuel Robles 5-9 Sr. G 14 Patrick Duffield 6-1 Jr. F 22 Jaden Isler 5-10 Sr. G 30 Jaye Crockett 6-5 Jr. G 32 Layne Strebeck 6-4 Sr. F 33 Diondre Hunter 5-10 Sr. F 34 Arthur Calbert 6-3 Jr. F 44 Aaron Boydstun 6-0 Sr. F Head coach: J.D. Isler (7th year). Assistant coaches: Scott Robinson, Vernon Dobbs, Phil Lemke. Schedule December 11 — Amarillo High, 7 p.m.; 13-15 — at Artesia tournament, TBA; 18 — at Portales, 7 p.m.; 22 — Roswell Goddard, 7 p.m.; 27-29 — Milk Cow Classic, TBA. January 1 — at Amarillo High, 6:30 p.m.; 5 — Sandia, 2:30 p.m.; 8 — Canyon, Texas, 7 p.m.; 11 — Moriarty, 7 p.m.; 12 — at Roswell Goddard, 7 p.m.; 15 — at Eldorado, 7 p.m.; 19 — at Valley, 7 p.m.; 22 — Borger, Texas, 7 p.m.; 26 — Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.; 29 — Roswell High, 7 p.m. February 1 — at Artesia, 7 p.m.; 8 — Hobbs, 7 p.m.-x; 12 — at Carlsbad, 7 p.m.-x; 15 — at Roswell High, 7 p.m.; 19 — Carlsbad-x, 7 p.m.; 22 — at Hobbs, 7 p.m.-x. All times MST. x-Denotes District 4-5A games.
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