Buchanan High entered the championship game of the Clovis Elks Tournament with a simple but effective game plan:
Harass, annoy and otherwise frustrate Clovis big man Korey Anderson as much as the rules of basketball would allow.
"We're all between 6-foot-2 and 6-4 and thought if we kind of gang-tackled him, then he wouldn't do as well as he normally does," said Alex Fertig, the Bears' do-it-all junior and tournament MVP.
Mission accomplished. Buchanan limited Anderson to four points and got 21 from Fertig and 19 from Dominique Katter while steamrolling the host Cougars 67-46 on Thursday night.
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At 6-8, Anderson was the tallest player on the court. But the Bears (10-4) used their height and length advantage at the four other positions to make life miserable for Clovis (9-3).
Time and again, Buchanan knocked away dribbles or deflected Clovis passes. And when the Cougars did set their half-court offense, a fronting Ryan Swain made it nearly impossible for Anderson to get the ball in the post.
"They triple-teamed me every time," said Anderson, who came in averaging 20 points per game. "Their pressure bothered our guards and it carried over into the second half."
Clovis kept the score close until midway through the second quarter when Fertig started getting hot from the outside and Katter finished a few clever left-handed drives.
Buchanan led 35-24 at halftime after outscoring the Cougars 20-9 in the second quarter. Fertig had 12 of the 20.
A 15-4 spurt by the Bears to start the third quarter all but decided the outcome.
Buchanan, the Central Section Division I runner-up last season, served notice that this could be the year for the program's first section title in its 18-year history.
"We're blessed with a lot of depth, a lot of length and a lot of heart," Bears coach Eric Swain said. "We've got great chemistry, and we keep coming in waves."
Nate Galvan led the Cougars with 11 points, including three 3-pointers. Lestee Ceasar added 10.