Cats in control

Clovis senior Tigg Bunton drives past Carlsbad’s Jermaine Barksdale for two of his 32 points in Tuesday’s 77-57 Clovis win. (Staff photo: Rick White)

By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer

Clovis senior post Tigg Bunton poured in 18 points in the first quarter and 32 overall as the Wildcats forged a three-way tie for second in District 4-5A with a 77-57 win over Carlsbad on Tuesday at Rock Staubus Gym.

Cibola clinched the district title Tuesday by beat Sandia 67-55 on Tuesday.

Clovis (20-5, 4-3) is tied with Hobbs and Sandia.

Carlsbad tried to make Bunton work for his points by collapsing two or three people on him, but if hardly made a difference as the 6-foot-8 manchild topped the 30-point mark for a second-straight game.

“It’s kind of like playing against Shaq with my kids that are small,” Madden said. “We don’t have any answers for a kid like that. All we can do is play hard, try to play scrappy and hope he has an off night. It was not one of those nights. He was on, and we did everything we could do.”

Bunton’s night included an 8-for-8 effort from the charity stripe and a couple of dunks on lob passes.

“It was a lot of fun, we do it a lot of times in practice,” Bunton said.

Senior guard John Props complemented Bunton’s inside dominance with 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting while Elliott Hita added 13 as Clovis ended a two-game losing streak.

“We got the ball inside and when the defense collapsed Tigg got the ball back outside,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said. “We hit shots and it was just really pretty to watch.”

Andrew Brooks led last-place Carlsbad with 15 and Alex Bustos added 12.

However, Carlsbad (5-19, 0-7) hurt themselves with 22 turnovers. “For the most part we made them work for their shots,” Isler said.

Clovis senior Dominique Easterlin was held out of the game after rolling his ankle Monday in practice. Isler said Easterlin just didn’t look right in warmups and he wanted him as healthy as possible for Friday’s district finale at Sandia.

Despite losing three of four district games before Tuesday’s game, Isler said his team is still confident they can qualify for the state tournament.

“We lost a couple of close games to Cibola and Hobbs,” Isler said. “It’s amazing, you win 19 games and you lose a couple of games and people start writing you off. But as long as the kids believe, and they do, and the coaching staff believes, we’re going to be all right.”