Leaving the opposing team's best shooter wide open is never a good idea.
Especially when you're playing for the Central Section title and that shooter is Clovis West High's Emily Anderson.
Anderson scored 11 straight points during an 18-0 second-quarter surge that propelled the Golden Eagles past Stockdale 53-38 in the Division I girls final Saturday night at Selland Arena.
It was Clovis West's 13th section title since 1990 and fourth under eight-year coach Craig Campbell, who is 4-1 against Stockdale in section title games.
But for Portia Neale, who scored 18 points, and fellow junior Anderson, who had 16, the only banner that matters is 2013.
"This is the first Valley championship for everyone, and it feels amazing," Anderson said. "I can't even describe how happy I am."
Just like Tuesday's semifinal against Hanford, when Clovis West outscored the Bullpups 16-1 in the second quarter, the Golden Eagles (23-5) used the 8 minutes before halftime to make a move.
After Stockdale (24-5) opened with a bucket to go ahead 13-6, Clovis West scored 18 straight while grabbing a 24-15 halftime lead. The Mustangs trailed by double digits throughout the second half.
Campbell said it took his team a little while to figure out Stockdale's press. But once it did, that often led to wide-open looks for Anderson. Which, as Mustangs co-coach Glenn Hager conceded, was not by design.
"We could've done a lot better getting a hand in her face," said Hager, who is retiring at season's end along with co-coach Charles Stewart. "You can't leave a kid like that unchallenged."
Even Anderson admitted she was a little surprised by the lack of attention.
"During the season, I've been denied a little harder because people know I'm a great shooter," said Anderson, who went 4 of 10 from beyond the arc. "But I've learned to work and get open."
Once Clovis West surged ahead, it relied on its trapping press to force 20 turnovers and limit Stockdale to 27.3% shooting. The Golden Eagles actually committed more turnovers (23), but the Mustangs couldn't take advantage amid a barrage of missed layups and point-blank shots.
Fatigue also may have played a part. Clovis West spread the workload while all five Stockdale starters logged at least 26 minutes.
"They're not as deep as we are, and when they got tired they looked hesitant to bring their subs in," Campbell said. "Their starters got very tired during that stretch, and that's when we really opened it up."
Leigha Moland led Stockdale with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Both teams advance to the CIF Southern Regionals, with Clovis West opening at home Wednesday. Seedings and pairings will be announced today.
Said Neale: "We want to keep this going as long as we can and keep raising our game."