If you rebound well enough, everything else takes care of itself.
On a night where little else clicked, Clovis rebounded well enough to beat two-time defending Class 4A champion Roswell 64-56 at Rock Staubus Gym.
D.J. Blackmon scored 20 points to lead Clovis, including the first seven of the third quarter as the Wildcats (20-2) built a 29-16 lead.
The Wildcats, who led by 18 with 5:30 to go and were never seriously threatened, head to Carlsbad on Saturday for their second District 4-5A contest.
“I think we’ll be sharper tomorrow at Carlsbad,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said, “and maybe we can get into a rhythm.”
Clovis never seemed to get a flow, much to the credit of an aggressive defense from Roswell (19-4), but a 42-24 rebounding advantage made up for an offense that was at times sluggish.
“Personally, I thought the difference was rebounding,” said 6-foot-5 senior Lincoln Nora, who had nine points and a game-high 14 boards. “In the first half, they were getting second and third shots. Second half, we kept them from getting extra shots, and we got a bigger lead.”
Roswell put up a 10-1 run midway through the fourth quarter, but Lieb hit a driving layup with 3:20 to go for a 54-43 lead, and Roswell didn’t get the deficit back to single digits until the final seconds.
Deyton De La Cerda led all scorers with 21, but scored 11 of them in the final five minutes with the game well in hand for Clovis. Jonathan Ervin battled through a 6-of-15 night to add 15 for Roswell.
“Our kids played hard,” said Roswell coach Britt Cooper, who noted Clovis’ size and speed are a tough matchup. “We just hit a lull in the second half. They were able to jump out early, get it to a double-digit lead.”
Roswell hassled Lieb, Blackmon and point guard John Dawson on the perimeter throughout the night with aggressive double teams.
“They threw a trapping zone at us we hadn’t seen,” Isler said. “That was good for us to play a different style, just in case we face something like that down the road.”
After playing Saturday at Carlsbad, the teams meet again Tuesday at Clovis. The Wildcats have three games in the next seven days — or four games in the next 10 days, if both Clovis and Lovington clinch top seeds in their districts and opt to make up a snowed-out game Feb. 21.
“We’re conditioned enough to do it and do it well,” Nora said. “It will be good for us, because we’ve played three games in three weeks.”