Marcus Slocum was trying for a quiet 40. He got a loud 38 instead.
The Wildcat senior exploded for a game-high 38, with nothing outside the paint or the free-throw line, leading an otherwise balanced Clovis effort in an 89-77 victory for Saturday’s District 4-5A championship at Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
Freshman guard D.J. Blackmon added 13, as 10 Clovis players scored in a game they led by 23 midway through the third quarter.
Had it not been for three missed free throws, Slocum would have become just the fifth player in Wildcat history to have a 40-point night. Instead, he cleaned up on putbacks and transition layups, including an exclamation point dunk with 12 seconds left.
“That’s how you’ve got to play, get the rebound,” said Slocum, who also had a game-high 14 boards. “
The only play Clovis (14-10) ever ran for Slocum was a lob pass that Hobbs intercepted.
“It seemed like every time we were in a lull,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said of Slocum, “he would come up with a big putback. He stayed really aggressive all night.”
Slocum scored eight points during a 15-0 third-quarter run that pushed an eight-point lead to a 64-41 advantage with just under 10 minutes left.
“It’s a shame to let one kid beat you,” said Hobbs coach Russ Gilmore, who called the third quarter a back-breaker. “We kept (junior guard Deven) Crockett out of the paint, we held (senior post Logan) Turnbow in check for the most part. We didn’t have mean enough, tough enough kids to shut him down.”
Blackmon, who scored five during the pivotal 15-0 burst, said Slocum opened things up for everyone else, as well.
“We worked the ball around, got open shots,” Blackmon said. “We just played our game, and didn’t let them take us out of that.”
Jordan Lee scored 24 to lead Hobbs (20-8) before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter, and Shelby Reeves added 22.
Now, both teams wait on the seeding committee, something Gilmore said he has no faith in. The Eagles ended up seeded eighth last year, and lost to an Eldorado squad that knocked off top-seeded Manzano four days later. He’s hoping the seeding committee notices the Eagles played one of Class 5A’s more difficult schedules and still ended up with 20 wins.
Isler hopes for a fifth seed, and hopes a tough schedule and a pair of wins over Hobbs will have some influence during Sunday’s committee meeting.
“It’s hard when your future’s in the hands of a committee,” Isler said. “But we and Hobbs have played a bunch of tough people. The higher we are, the higher they’re going to get. (Those two wins) will help us out.”