PREP BASKETBALL: Bullard, Clovis West reach D-I final

February 28, 2012 

Bullard and Clovis West took different routes, but both boys basketball teams won tonight to reach the Central Section championship game.

Top-seeded Bullard never was threatened and defeated No. 4 Central 83-74, with Aaric and Adam Armstead combining for 41 points for Bullard.

In the other semifinal, No. 6 Clovis West defeated No. 2 Buchanan 92-76 in double overtime. Clovis West outscored Buchanan 16-0 in the second overtime period while Buchanan was without star Alex Fertig, who fouled out in the first OT.

The D-I championship is set for 8 p.m. Saturday at Selland Arena.

Bullard and Clovis West also met in last year's final, with Bullard beating Clovis West 54-51.

DIVISION II

Tulare 76, East Bakersfield 49: Tulare is back in the Central Section Division II boys basketball championship, as the second-seeded Redskins rode 33 points from William Stallworth to a big win against East Bakersfield in the semifinals.

Tulare, which lost 43-33 to Clovis North in last year’s final, meets top-seeded Memorial for the championship at 8 p.m. Friday in Selland Arena.

Keonta Vernon added 19 points for Tulare (28-4).

Memorial 56, Garces 42: Robert Upshaw’s 20 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks helped power the Panthers past the fifth-seeded Rams and into the final.

Garces held a 31-30 lead on Memorial’s home court at halftime, but the Panthers switched to a zone defense at halftime and limited the Rams to 11 points the rest of the way.

Jordan Stallworth scored 11 points and Royshon Snowden added 10 for Memorial.

DIVISION III

Mt. Whitney 58, Frontier 53: Will Nelson had 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for the top-seeded Pioneers, who battled back from a 10-point third-quarter deficit.

Mt. Whitney (28-5) didn’t take its first lead until two Alex Palomino free throws with 1:29 left.

Jaz Thind had 15 points for No. 5 Frontier (18-10).

This will be the Pioneers’ first trip to Selland Arena since the facility began hosting the section championships.

Mt. Whitney will face No. 6 Ridgeview — which upset No. 2 Independence — at 4 p.m. Saturday.

DIVISION IV

Sierra 69, Chowchilla 62: Ira Bill hit a 3-pointer late in the game to put the Chieftains up by four, and the second-seed made 11 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to top the No. 3 Redskins.

Jake Blunt scored 20 points, while Casey Blunt added 15, Derek Austrum 14 and Bill 12 as Sierra moves on to face top-seeded Central Valley Christian at noon Saturday for the title.

Central Valley Christian 61, Kingsburg 45: Grant Verhoeven tallied a game-high 28 points with 17 rebounds, 10 blocks and five steals to help the Cavaliers return to Selland for the second straight year.

Last season, CVC was beaten in the final 48-44 by Washington.

DIVISION V

Fresno Christian 73, Tranquillity 34: Ryan Neufeld had 18 points, 10 rebounds and six steals to lead the top-seeded and defending division champion Eagles back to Selland following an easy win over the No. 4 Tigers.

Cooper Belmont also scored 18 points for Fresno Christian (23-2), which will face No. 2 Laton at 4 p.m. Friday for the title.

The Eagles will return the same starting five — Neufeld, Belmont, Chandler Vargas, Brady Lee and Tyler Krigbaum — that produced a 74-53 win over Tranquillity for the title.

Laton 68, Riverdale Christian 44: The second-seeded Mustangs are back in the final for the first since 2000, as a balanced scoring effort keyed a 24-14 second-quarter scoring edge and a 29-19 halftime lead.

Colton Minter scored 24 points for Laton. Chris Romero had 18 for the No. 3 Christ Ambassadors.

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