When Clovis and Hobbs get together, you throw the records out. Hobbs might prefer it that way.
“It’s been unlike any year for me,” said Hobbs coach Russ Gilmore, whose team started 3-9 before winning eight of its last 13. “They don’t have many years like that down in Hobbs. You’ve got to give credit to the kids for working hard and finding a way.”
But the difference in records — Clovis is 22-2, a winner of seven straight — is far from the only reason the Wildcats are heavy favorites in Friday night’s regular-season and District 4-5A finale at Rock Staubus Gym.
“First of all, they’re really good,” Gilmore said. “They just present all kinds of problems with their size and athletic ability. They’ve got a lot of kids that can shoot the basketball. We’ve just got to do a better job keeping them in front of us.”
Hobbs can still claim the top spot in next week’s district tournament, but would need to beat the Wildcats Friday and then win a neutral-site tiebreaker.
Clovis took an 80-71 win at Ralph Tasker Arena two Fridays ago, despite 26 points and seven 3-pointers from Eagles guard Erik Menchaca.
“We’d seen Hobbs in person twice and in two games on film,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said. “He shot the ball a lot more against us than he did in any of those other games. I’m not sure if it was a situation where he felt like he got hot. We feel like we’ve got to be close to him.”
Isler was happy with how the Wildcats played at Hobbs, and Gilmore was impressed as well because few atmospheres can rattle teams like a Clovis-Hobbs game.
“It’s every bit as hard there (in Clovis) as what it is here,” Gilmore said. “It’s always their biggest crowd of the year, and it’s always a really big challenge for us. I thought the Clovis kids handled it well here. We’ll see if our kids can do the same.”
Both teams are coming off wins over Carlsbad, though Clovis’ 87-60 win gave Isler cause to question his squad’s defensive intensity. But the last few days have been a relief to the 10th-year Wildcats coach.
“I think they responded well,” Isler said of his players. “It shouldn’t be any problem to get up for this game. There’s a lot riding on it.”
CHS BOYS CAPSULE
Hobbs (11-14, 2-1)
at Clovis (22-2, 3-0)
Radio: KCLV-AM 1240, KTQM-FM 99.9
Last time out: Both teams are coming off victories over Carlsbad. The Wildcats won 87-60 on Tuesday, and Hobbs won 95-62 last Friday.
Last meeting: Feb. 4, Clovis beat the Eagles 80-71 at Hobbs.
Hobbs players to watch: Shay Reimers, 6-2, Sr., F; Dane Pannell, 6-3, So., G;, Sr. G Erik Manchaca, 6-0, Sr., G.
— Compiled by Kevin Wilson