Clovis West Eagles stand tall with boys basketball win vs. No. 3 Buchanan

Team's second big upset in a week gives playoff hopes a boost.

The Fresno BeeFebruary 10, 2012 

The most impressive week of boys basketball in the Central Section this season has been delivered by a program rich in history, but never smaller.

"We're on a roll," said Charlie Thompson -- a 5-foot-10 guard on a team effectively without forwards, much less centers -- after eighth-ranked Clovis West rocked No. 3 Buchanan 58-37 in a Tri-River Athletic Conference game played Friday before a standing-room-only crowd of about 2,500 in the Golden Eagles' gym.

As convincing as it was shocking for nine-time section champion Clovis West, it was merely a sequel, given the Eagles' 81-67 domination Tuesday at No. 2 Central.

"We turned the tables this week," Clovis West 10-year coach Tom Orlich said, "and we're playing now the way we were capable of playing all year. It's been a long time because we really didn't have a good game up until Central -- all year."

T.J. Jackson scored 23 points, Thompson followed a 29-point game at Central with 17 and Khaneal Mason -- in the MVP performance of the night -- held Buchanan 25-point-per-game scorer Alex Fertig to six.

"He had six, really?" said Mason after the Eagles (17-5) remained tied with Clovis North for third place in the TRAC with 5-3 records. Buchanan and Central are now tied for first at 6-2 with two games remaining.

Fertig, who made two first-half free throws and two third-quarter drives, also ran into continual Eagles weakside defensive help from Matt Parker. This occurred three weeks after four-year starter and school career scoring leader Fertig drilled the Eagles for 30 points in a Buchanan 64-57 homecourt win.

For the Bears (21-4), the question: What's more broken -- Ryan Swain's nose or their collective heart?

Swain, a four-year varsity guard, had his face hammered in the first half, but completed the game and led his team in scoring (12) before having his nose and an eye cut treated afterward.

He's expected to play Tuesday at home against Clovis for Buchanan, which was unbeaten in the TRAC and flying toward a probable top seed in the Division I playoffs 10 days ago.

Today, who knows for a team playing demoralized since a 65-58 homecourt loss to Central last Friday?

"We're still a good team," said coach Eric Swain, whose Bears will follow the Clovis game with another against Clovis North three days later to close the TRAC. "And what I like is we finish at home. We do what we need to do and we're still right there."

The reporter can be reached at aboogaard@fresnobee.com or (559)441-6336. Follow him on Twitter: @beepreps.

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