With its built-in advantages for the home team, it’s safe to say the Southwest Dairy Farmer’s Classic is focused on Clovis.
So, too, are the Wildcats.
Heading into their annual eight-team tournament, Clovis coach J.D. Isler and his players have adopted the mantra that they have to worry more about themselves than whoever they face. The three-day tournament starts today at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
“We’ve really just been trying to watch film on ourselves. At this point, we feel like it’s as important to look at ourselves as it is to look at who we play. We’re kind of going into this deal blind, but we’re trying to look at ourselves.”
By the way, Clovis (8-1) hosts Farmington in a 7:30 p.m. contest to end the first day of play.
Clovis is the 7:30 p.m. game the next two nights, win or lose. Wednesday will see the Wildcats against either Hereford or El Paso Cathedral. For Clovis, which entered the holiday break after back-to-back road games at Onate and Alamogordo the previous weekend, it’s an advantageous format.
“I think it will prepare us very well,” Isler said of the early road-heavy schedule. “We went on the road, played really well. Now we’re home, sleeping in our own beds, so I expect us to handle it pretty well.”
On the other side of the bracket are Class 5A favorite Manzano, Amarillo Tascosa, Abilene Cooper and St. Michael’s.
“In this tournament, there aren’t any weak teams,” Clovis guard Lathan Lieb said. “It’s a tough tournament. But we’re really trying to focus on ourselves.”
“We know we’ve got to be great defensively if we want to be great in March and be good offensively. Our focus is defense; we want to be great defensively and let our offense come.”
Isler echoed Lieb’s point about defense.
“We’ve got to get better,” Isler said. “We feel like there’s a big area for improvement in our halfcourt defense and we still don’t feel like we’re playing fluid offensively.”