Kianna Smith, Destiny Littleton and, now, Ayanna Clark.
Three McDonald’s All-American Game selections.
Two of them (Smith and Littleton) beaten by Clovis West High’s girls basketball team in five days.
Next up is Clark as the top-seeded and 32-2 Golden Eagles oppose No. 2 Long Beach Poly (27-3) Saturday at 4 p.m. in the championship of the Southern California Open Division Regional at Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State.
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Clark, “the top big girl in California,” according to Cal-Hi Sports, is a 6-foot-3 center headed to USC.
She’s averaging 15.0 points and 9.8 rebounds a game and scored 16 points in a 70-67 overtime loss to Clovis West on Dec. 9 in the Nike Iolani Classic at Honolulu.
Saturday’s rematch among the nationally ranked teams has been anticipated ever since.
First, the Eagles – who, with a victory, can break a tie with Hanford (32-4, 2000) as the winningest girls basketball team in Central Section history – had to go conquer Smith and Troy-Fullerton (68-61) and Littleton and Bishop’s-La Jolla (73-31).
And now Clark.
“I don’t know how many teams have gone through three (consecutive) McDonald’s All-Americans,” says Clovis West coach Craig Campbell. “I think we should get a lifetime pass from McDonald’s for having to go through this.”
Clark is one of eight major-college scholarship recipients in Saturday’s game. Clovis West signees are Bre’yanna Sanders (Arizona State), Megan Anderson (San Jose State), Danae Marquez (San Jose State), Sarah Bates (UC Santa Barbara) and Tess Amundsen (Boise State). And sophomore Madison Campbell, the coach’s daughter, has already received 11 offers, ranging from Fresno State to Washington, Utah and Arizona.
Also signed from Poly are forward Jasmine Jones (Loyola Marymount) and point guard Danae Miller (UC Santa Barbara).
At stake is a berth in the CIF State Open Division title March 25 at 6 p.m. at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center against the NorCal winner – either top-ranked Archbishop Mitty-San Jose (27-2) or Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa (30-3).
The Eagles are 0 for 4 in SoCal finals, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
They lost to Morningside in 1991 (52-40), Lynwood in ’94 (62-51), Mater Dei Santa Ana in ’95 (50-47) and Poly in 2010 (68-53).
With a 40-year record of 844-257 (.767) – featuring Campbell’s 12-year mark of 297-73 (.803) with eight section titles – Clovis West is the most accomplished program in section annals.
I think we should get a lifetime pass from McDonald’s for having to go through this.
Clovis West coach Craig Campbell, on his team having to face McDonald’s All-Americans in three straight games
And the Eagles have raised the bar this season, beating seven teams that have been ranked among the nation’s top 15, including MaxPreps’ No. 2 St. John’s-Washington, D.C. (75-58) and No. 4 Centennial-Las Vegas (57-42).
Poly is No. 11 in USA Today Sports Computer rankings and No. 14 by MaxPreps.
While The Pyramid isn’t the Jackrabbits’ home court, they will have the convenience of sleeping in their own beds the night before the game and driving but a few miles to the arena.
Not that Campbell is concerned with that factor.
“A lot of people are trying to make a story out of it being a home game for Poly,” he says. “If we played them at the Save Mart Center, yes, we would have more people, but it wouldn’t be a home-court advantage.
“This is a great opportunity for us, we’re just excited to play for the regional championship and blessed to be a part of it all. My point to the players is they’ve had an unbelievable season and the pressure’s off, now just go out and play.”
CIF State playoffs