Clovis wins 500th for Coach

Amid tumultuous early season, Isler gains landmark


It might have come earlier in the season, except that one victory was ruled a forfeiture, but Clovis boys basketball coach J.D. Isler did get his 500th career basketball coaching victory on Monday. Isler’s Wildcats had little trouble with Los Lunas in the opening round of the Southwest Dairy Farmers Classic and moved to the semis with an 82-51 win.

Isler’s high school career has included stints as both boys and girls head basketball coach at Grady, where he attended high school and helped lead the Bronchos to a state title in 1980. In Clovis, Isler took over in 2003 and eventually coached the ‘Cats to the 2008 Class 5A state championship contest.


This season, though, has been quite out of the ordinary for Isler.

With several transfers taking place to Clovis in the offseason, though two of which were players that were currently living or had lived in the community, the New Mexico Activities Association took note. The governing body for prep sports in the state ruled an earlier victory over Portales be turned into a forfeit.

But that wasn’t all. The NMAA then suspended Isler for the remainder of the year. That ruling, however, was overturned at least temporarily when a district court judge in Clovis granted an injunction requested by Isler’s attorney.

Back on the court and his situation still in limbo, Isler was at least glad to have reached the milestone.

“It means a lot, because it makes you start thinking about all the good kids you’ve coached and the time and effort they’ve given,” Isler said. “It’s really special to me because I got to coach my son (Jaden) in that spell. You don’t win that many games unless you got to coach really good kids. I’ve been very blessed.”



In the victory over the Tigers, who were led by Johnny Cole’s 22 points, Clovis got 19  from Logan Turnbow and 18 more from Marcus Slocum. Slocum, a resident of Clovis who played in Portales for his first three years of high school, pleased the crowd with a pair of fourth-quarter dunks.

“He (Isler) just wanted us to come out and play hard through all this stuff. This has all been crazy. We had been talking about how we might be able to win state, then all this stuff starts happening,” Slocum said. “We just have a good team. Everytime you have a good team, there’s always somebody trying to take you out because they’re scared or something.”


Clovis (5-3) seized control of the opening round contest immediately against Los Lunas (2-7). After spotting the Tigers the opening bucket, Slocum hit a shot followed by consecutive field goals by Landyn Snipes.

The Wildcats flew to a 17-3 advantage and maintained a lead between 20 and 30 points for the majority of the remainder of the game. Though Los Lunas is scheduled to make another trip to Clovis in January, the Tigers and Rio Grande – the Wildcats’ originally scheduled opponent to start the tournament – were switched less than a week before in the bracket.

“We try to pair up different people each year. Los Lunas and St. Mike’s (which beat Rio Grande on Monday) had played each other each of the last two years,” Isler said.

Back to the Bracket!!!


Click here for the Clovis All-Tournament Team Selections!




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