Clovis High’s Jaye Crockett goes up for a dunk during the second half of Saturday’s game against Sandia at Rock Staubus Gym. Clovis went on to win by the score of 75-49.
Things are going so well for the Clovis Wildcats, even a technical foul turned out positive.
Clovis junior Jaye Crockett had the technical, but followed with two monster dunks to key a third-quarter run. His 25-point performance led the Wildcats to their 11th-straight win to open the season, 75-49 over Sandia High.
Jaden Isler added 19 and Bryce Hill 16 for Clovis, but no two points were bigger than the first right-handed flush from the 6-foot-6 Crockett following his own technical foul. It sparked a 17-5 run that put the visiting Matadors (8-5) in a 22-point hole from which they never recovered.
“That was a pretty monster dunk,” Sandia coach Adrian Ortega said. “Basketball’s a game of momentum, and even with the tech, we weren’t able to take the momentum away from them.”
The technical foul resulted from a fast break, as senior guard Bryce Hill passed on a layup to throw a lob pass off the backboard to Crockett. The connection wasn’t made, and Crockett was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim in the play’s aftermath.
That could have been a momentum boost for Sandia, which had chipped the Clovis lead to 41-30. But the Wildcats forced a steal at midcourt and Crockett didn’t miss his next dunk opportunity.
Clovis coach J.D. Isler thought Hill could have picked a better opportunity to get Crockett the feed, and that Crockett was only hanging on the rim to protect himself in traffic. But he wasn’t displeased with the effort, or the results.
“I kind of waited in the second half for us to get a run, because we’re capable of putting up points in a hurry,” Isler said. “I thought a real momentum swing was when Crockett got the (first dunk).”
Crockett had another dunk in the run, as Clovis closed out the third on an 18-9 burst.
Sandia pulled to 63-49 with 5:25 to play, but Layne Strebeck scored on a layup to stop the bleeding and fuel a game-ending 12-0 run.
Strebeck scored 10 points to finish as the fourth Wildcat in double figures. The Matadors were led by Eric Kibi (12 points) and Stefan Mirabal (11), but had nobody else in double figures and fought off foul trouble throughout the second half.
“We had two starters with three fouls in the first half and the other three starters with two fouls,” Ortega said. “That was the difference. We don’t have much depth.”
The win against Sandia, ranked in the top 10 in Class 5A, was the kind coach Isler likes.
“They’re important to our players to know we can play with anybody, and also for seeding purposes later,” he said. “The seeding committee will look back at wins like these.”