The road that ends at Selland Arena this weekend has Bullard High's boys shooting for a hat trick, Ridgeview's marvelous Erica McCall taking one final bow and so many others starved to grasp a plaque now.
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Bullard's been there, capturing the past two Central Section Division I basketball titles over Clovis West. And the same schools will go at again Saturday at 8 p.m. to close the two-day, 10-game bonanza at Selland.
McCall, the leading shot blocker and third-leading scorer in state history, will be making her fourth consecutive appearance as the top-seeded Wolf Pack (25-3) opposes fellow Kern County member and No. 2 Garces (27-2) today for the girls' D-II crown at 6 p.m.
Ridgeview twice won D-III and placed second last season behind the 6-foot-3 McCall, who's going to Stanford.
"It would be a blessing to go out at Selland with a win absolutely," says the center who chose the Cardinal over UCLA and UConn.
"Selland has been like my second home," she says. "It's a great experience every time, and it's also a different feeling. It's a very challenging and very wide open court to play on."
This weekend's storylines also count many pursuing their first section championships.
That applies to nine of 20 in the field -- Mission Oak, Independence and Coalinga in the boys and Selma, Hanford West, Lindsay, Mendota, Immanuel and Kings Christian in the girls.
"My team is well aware," says coach James Stevens of Immanuel, whose team will open the show by playing Kings Christian at 2 p.m. today in D-V. "Our goal from day one was to be the first team at Immanuel to win that. They want it -- they want it really bad."
Immanuel returns seven from a team that lost 43-40 in last year's semifinals to eventual champion Central Valley Christian.
"All the girls coming back don't want that feeling again," says Stevens, who shifted to Immanuel this season from Parlier.
Try Clovis West's boys and coach Tom Orlich, who have experienced a stinging reversal in the section finals.
The Golden Eagles increased their section championships to nine with three consecutive titles under Orlich from 2004-06.
Since, they're 0-4 at Selland, losing to Clovis East in 2007 (80-76) and '08 (60-56), and Bullard in 2011 (54-51) and '12 (69-55).
No consolation to Clovis West, but those defeats to Bullard were actually respectable considering the Knights are 61-3 against section competition with an average point differential of 26.4 in the past three seasons.
Orlich breaks bullish Bullard down to the simplest form, and his opinion means something, coming from the eighth-winningest coach in state history (775-252 in 36 years at South Lake Tahoe and Clovis West), according to section historian Bob Barnett.
The Knights, Orlich says, "Have exceptional length and good athletes -- and those athletes can play basketball; that's a pretty good combination."
All combinations worked for the third-seeded Golden Eagles (22-5), also, Wednesday night as they executed superbly in a 68-58 conquest at No. 2 Central.
A repeat performance will be required for Clovis West to have a shot at top-seeded Bullard (26-2), which will be physically superior with a deep cast of players in the 6-2 to 6-5 range.
"Our guards are certainly going to be tested," Orlich says in reference to his sophomore son, Michael, and Khaneal Mason, who torched Central for 24 points.
The Eagles were outscored 24-9 in the fourth quarter and finished with 32 turnovers against the Knights' signature trapping defense in last year's final.
"We'll have to do a better job of taking care of the ball and rebounding for the outcome to be different," Tom Orlich says. "Bullard has done a real good job of taking care of business in the playoffs."
Knights fifth-year coach Tony Amundsen finds his system now deep-rooted in the County/Metro Athletic Conference program. And no one has a better grasp than three-year point guard Chris Russell.
"These guys who have played in it for a few years just really understand our defense and our concepts. They just get it and are doing a tremendous job."
AT A GLANCE
No. 1 Bullard vs. No. 3 Clovis West, 8 p.m. Saturday
No. 2 Garces vs. No. 5 Hanford West, 8 p.m. Friday
No. 1 Independence vs. No. 2 Mission Oak, 4 p.m. Saturday
No. 2 Exeter vs. No. 8 Coalinga, noon Saturday
No. 2 Tranquillity vs. No. 4 Laton, 4 p.m. Friday
No. 1 Stockdale vs. No. 2 Clovis West, 6 p.m. Saturday
No. 1 Ridgeview vs. No. 2 Garces, 6 p.m. Friday
No. 1 Selma vs. No. 2 Hanford West, 2 p.m. Saturday
No. 1 Lindsay vs. No. 2 Mendota, 10 a.m. Saturday
No. 1 Immanuel vs. No. 2 Kings Christian, 2 p.m. Friday
Daily all-session passes at Selland Arena are $12 for adults and $9 for students.