Cats blast Harvesters in opener

Clovis High’s Manuel Robles gets past Pampa’s Tyler Hall for a layup during Thursday’s first-round game in the Milk Cow Classic at Rock Staubus Gym. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer

The only time Clovis wasn’t in control against Pampa on Thursday night was on the opening tip.

Otherwise, the Wildcats played at warp speed while racing to a 98-61 win over the Harvesters in a first-round game of the Milk Cow Classic at Rock Staubus Gym.

Jaden Isler scored 25 points and Bryce Hill chipped in 18 as the unbeaten Wildcats (9-0) scored 80-plus points for a third-straight game.

Hill hit a trio of 3-pointers while Isler and senior Cody Thornsbury each sunk two as six Cats scored in double figures. Thornsbury finished with 14 points and junior Manuel Robles added 11 points and played stifling defense.

“He’s very athletic, and everyone knows he jumps well,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said of the two-time state triple jump champion. “He has to continue to use that ability on defense and when he does, good things happen.”

Clovis outscored the Class 4A Harvesters (3-13) by at least seven points in all four quarters.

Wirey 6-foot-2 senior Tyler Hall netted a game-high 26 points for Pampa and Alex Clendening contributed 14 points.

Hall twisted his way into the lane for layups and used his tentacle-like reach to block shots.

“They kept us out of the paint,” Pampa coach Dustin Miller said. “And when you do that it makes things very difficult.”

Clovis forced the Harvesters into its fastbreak style by grabbing rebounds and pushing the ball up the court, Isler said.

“The tempo of the game was in our favor,” he said. “And (Pampa) got a little tired in the third and fourth quarter.”

Isler credited juniors Layne Strebeck and Aaron Boydstun along with senior Michael Lewis for controlling the boards.

“Layne Strebeck has just been playing tremendous basketball,” Isler said. “He does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.”

Strebeck said the Cats felt they played a sloppy second quarter, and looked to pick up the intensity in the third.

“We played well together as a team, and we boxed out well,” Strebeck said. “That was something we’ve been working on all week in practice.”

Robles responded at the start of the third quarter with two straight steals that led to a lay up and a three-point play by Strebeck giving the Cats a 62-40 lead with 2:13 left in the third.

Hill kick-started the Cats offense in the first quarter by scoring 11 points, including two of his 3-pointers. Isler kept up the momentum nailing two straight jumpers for an early 18-10 lead.