If Friday was any indication, Marcus Slocum has adjusted quite well to his move to the Clovis Wildcats — and his former teammates in Portales are still adjusting to the transition of a new season.
Slocum led a balanced Clovis effort with 15 points, helping the Wildcats cruise to a 72-28 victory at Portales in the season opener for both teams.
Alex Flores added 13 and Landyn Snipes 10 for a Clovis squad that never trailed and blasted out of the gate with a 16-2 run.
“We talked about that,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. “We couldn’t let them get started like that.”
With a stretch of five games in 11 days coming up, starting with Monday’s home opener against Canyon, the Wildcats escaped early foul trouble — their only problem of the night — as Slocum scored 10 unanswered points in a 2:11 stretch of the first and second quarters to give Clovis a 30-9 advantage.
“I’ll be playing more around the (perimeter),” said Slocum, who had a 3-pointer to open the second quarter and hit a trio of free throws when fouled on another attempt in the first period, “so I’ve got to shoot better, stop fouling, calm down.”
Once the Wildcats got past the foul trouble — Portales was in the double bonus late in the first quarter and ended Friday with more points from the line (15) than the field (13) — there wasn’t much to stop a pressure defense that forced 22 Portales turnovers and fueled the transition game throughout the night.
“We didn’t want the game to slow down,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said, “but when you’re fouling and they’re shooting free throws that doesn’t happen. The first quarter, I was a little concerned.”
Nine players scored for Clovis, and seven had at least six points.
“Our effort was good, and I think our depth is evident,” Isler said.
Portales, led by senior Shawn Carrasco’s 12 points, struggled most of the night on 5-of-26 shooting. Gallegos said he wasn’t upset with the defense played against the Wildcats, but felt the offense needed to be more efficient to give the Rams a chance to win their sixth-straight District 4-3A crown.
“Part of that’s on me; we’ve got to make some fundamental changes,” said Gallegos, whose Rams host defending Class 4A champ Roswell Tuesday night. “We’ll be there at the end, and that’s a promise. We’ll get where we’ve been the last five years.”