The surge of Central’s boys under first-year coach Myron Epps and the duel among Clovis West and Garces for No. 1 in girls are the hot spots in The Bee’s latest Central Section basketball rankings.
Epps, after going 92-31 in the past seasons at Mission Oak of the East Yosemite League, has No. 5 Central 14-8 overall and 4-0 atop the Tri-River Athletic Conference, which attracted his move to Fresno as “the toughest league in the Central Section.”
The Grizzlies have defeated Buchanan (77-69 away), Clovis West (53-44 at home), Clovis (74-61 at home) and Clovis North (66-64 away) in the TRAC. And they’ll attempt to close an unbeaten first round Friday at No. 9 Clovis East.
Top billing between Clovis West (15-4) of the TRAC and Garces (18-1) of the Southwest Yosemite League remains the toughest call in the girls rankings. They, along with Hanford, are the section’s most successful programs in the past 10 years.
Clovis West, coming off two straight D-I titles, has beaten high-caliber competition from four states — California, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada.
Garces, up to D-I after winning D-II last year, is 9-1 against strong opposition from the Southern Section. The Rams are ranked 14th in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.
Should Garces — a private Kern County school of 600 students — make the Southern California Regionals, it will remain in D-I.
Central Section policy prohibits teams from dropping into lower divisions, regardlesss of enrollment, for state competition following section playoffs.
CENTRAL SECTION BASKETBALL RANKINGS
— By Andy Boogaard