As far as a momentum versus rest discussion goes, the Clovis Wildcats aren’t all that interested. Through scheduling and inclement weather, they’ve had plenty of rest.
And they’re not sure they need momentum.
“When you’re 18-2, I don’t know that you rely on momentum,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said. “You just rely on playing well.”
The Wildcats would technically bring more momentum into Ralph Tasker Arena for Saturday’s District 4-5A opener at Hobbs. They’ve won three in a row and 12 of their last 13.
They haven’t played since an 88-52 victory on Jan. 25 at Artesia. Part of that was an open week of scheduling, and another part was the weather-related postponement of the Wildcats’ Tuesday game at Lovington.
Hobbs has lost three of its last five and has struggled throughout the year. But the Eagles (10-13, 1-0) have the lead that matters — a half-game lead over Clovis in district play, after defeating Carlsbad 74-67 on Tuesday.
Isler said it’s tough to get a read on the Eagles, who have dropped tight games to opponents the Wildcats have routed.
“They spent a big part of the season trying to find themselves,” Isler said. “I think they’ve established two scorers, (6-foot-2 senior Shay) Reimers and (6-foot-3 sophomore Dane) Pannell. From that standpoint, they’re probably a little more comfortable than they were earlier in the season.
“We know their emotions will be high.”
Hobbs coach Russ Gilmore expects a tough night against the Wildcats.
“The key with them will be matchups more than anything,” Gilmore said. “They know what we are going to do and we know what they are going to do because we’ve played so many times in the past. We have to make sure defensively we match our people correctly to them. They are more athletic and longer than we are.”
Isler said the key for the Wildcats, who won the last three District 4-5A championships — all over Hobbs, and one at Tasker — is to not get lost in the Hobbs-Clovis rivaly and play their own game.
“I’m a lot more concerned,” Isler said, “about how we approach the game and how we handle everything there than I am with Hobbs.”
Clovis (18-2, 0-0 District 4-5A) at Hobbs (10-13, 1-0)
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KCLV-AM 1240, KTQM-FM 99.9
Last time out: Clovis has been idle since routing Artesia 88-52. The Eagles opened District 4-5A play by beating Carlsbad 74-67.
Last meeting: 2010 District 4-5A championship, Clovis won 89-77.
Common opponents: The Wildcats and Eagles have each faced Alamogordo, Amarillo High, Artesia, Eldorado, Roswell Goddard, Onate and Rio Rancho. Clovis is 6-1 in those games, losing to Onate. Hobbs went 4-3, losing to Goddard, Eldorado and Onate.
Hobbs players to watch: Shay Reimers, 6-2, Sr., G; Dane Pannell, 6-3, So., G.
Clovis injuries: Clovis coach J.D. Isler said his players are close to 100 percent regarding sickness, which had a visible effect in the Wildcats’ previous games. Senior post Lincoln Nora is still bothered by a wrist injury from a January practice, but is expected to play.
— Compiled by Kevin Wilson