Clovis High girls basketball coach Miles Watters leads members of the team during a drill on Monday’s first day of practice at Rock Staubus Gym.
Basketball practice started on Monday for Clovis High’s teams, although as usual, it’ll be a while before everyone gets there.
The boys, in particular, were thin on the varsity level — only junior guard Jaye Crockett is not on the football squad. Seventh-year coach J.D. Isler said coaches are working with the bulk of the junior varsity and “C” squads on hand, though.
The Wildcats are scheduled to open on Dec. 4 at Dumas, Texas, but Isler said that game would be canceled if the football team reaches the Class 5A state finals that weekend.
Isler said he doesn’t expect it will take much time for his players to adjust once they come over from football.
“We played a lot this summer, and they’re a group that’s played a lot together,” he said. “We’ll come along. The hardest part will be their conditioning.”
The varsity roster currently includes seven seniors and four juniors, many of whom played on last year’s 23-6 squad which lost a last-second decision to La Cueva in the state tournament quarterfinals.
“I think the kids are hungry to get back up there,” Isler said. “We felt all along we were one of the few teams that matched up with (eventual 2007 state champion) Rio Rancho.”
They played twice last year, with the Rams winning 97-95 in overtime in the Milk Cow Classic at Rock Staubus Gym and 97-91 in Rio Rancho.
The girls finished 20-6 and reached the 5A state finals last season, losing to Mayfield 61-42, but seventh-year coach Miles Watters has had the Lady Cats in the state finals or semifinals in each of the last four seasons — including a 30-0 record and the title in 2005.
“Last year’s team probably surprised a lot of people,” Watters said. “They won a lot of games when they were behind in the fourth quarter.
“We’ll have to figure out where the points are going to come from this year. I think it’ll take us some time to figure it all out, but hopefully we’ll be there by the end of the year.”
Currently, six players are still playing volleyball and another is running cross country. The Lady Cats are scheduled to open the season at home against Roswell Goddard on Nov. 27.
“There’s some potential there,” Watters said of his squad. “We just don’t have a lot of room for mistakes. We’ve got to do everything right to beat the good teams.”