Clovis is still looking for offensive flow. The Wildcats are also looking for a point guard when sophomore John Dawson isn’t available.
But they have defense and rebounding, and used enough to stay perfect for the young season with a 64-54 win over Plainview on Tuesday night at Rock Staubus Gym.
Lathan Lieb led Clovis with 27 points on an off shooting night, while D.J. Blackmon and Lincoln Nora each reached double figures cleaning up on the offensive boards — a total of 25 points between them for the night.
Clovis (2-0) never trailed, but got a bit of a scare late when Dawson fouled out with about four minutes to play. The Bulldogs spent the next three minutes forcing turnovers against whoever Clovis coach J.D. Isler put at the point, and whittled the lead to 58-54 with a minute to play before Craig Cook hit a pair of free throws and Nora got a putback with 30 seconds left.
“We talk all the time about how our defense and rebounding have to carry us for a while, because we’re not smooth offensively,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said. “Craig and Lincoln and D.J. were really good on the boards tonight.”
Blackmon had 14 points, while Nora added 11.
Nora said Clovis had to employ the strategy they used against a quick and more tested Bulldogs squad.
“They were a lot faster than us,” Nora said. “It was imperative we get rebounds. There was no other way we were going to win the game. By limiting them to one shot, that eliminated their ability to use their quickness against us.”
That was certainly a key, but Plainview coach Leon Hagerman said the Bulldogs (6-3) didn’t help themselves in many ways.
“We didn’t box out well, we didn’t rebound well and we sure didn’t shoot free throws (11-of-25) well,” Hagerman said.
Josh Smiley led a balanced Bulldogs effort with 13 points, while Thomas Curry added 10.
Isler figures Clovis will handle pressure better later in the season, and that Lieb will likely be the second point guard option.
“I don’t like it (when it happens), but it was good for us to have to play without (Dawson),” Isler said.
The Wildcats and Bulldogs both start tournaments on Thursday. Clovis will face Volcano Vista to open the Capital City Challenge in Santa Fe, while the Bulldogs face Dallas Parkland Baptist to open the Burkburnett Tournament.