Vikings end Cats’ season

CNJ staff

ALBUQUERQUE — Clovis coach J.D. Isler knew Valley would be difficult to beat with a lead in the fourth quarter.

The Vikings, who made a habit of winning close games all season, steadily pulled away in the final eight minutes en route to a 62-48 win that knocked Clovis out of the Class 5A state playoffs.

Travis Vigil scored 17 points and Isaac Garcia added 16, including converting 7-of-8 free throws in the fourth quarter when Clovis was forced to foul.

Alex Zannes’ 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter gave the eighth-seeded Vikings (19-8) the lead for good in the back-and-forth contest.

“We worried this week about being down to them in the fourth quarter,” Isler said. “When you let them get a lead, they just shorten the game.”

Jaden Isler led the ninth-seeded Wildcats (16-10) with 11 points, while Cody Thornsbury and Michael Lewis added 10 apiece.

The Wildcats were making their first state playoff appearance in three years.

“It’s always hard on the (three) seniors because they won’t get to play again,” Isler said. “But for the young kids, going to the state playoffs is a good experience.”

Clovis returns three starters and several key reserves next year.