Apparently it took a 24-point loss to a team it had beaten by 15 five weeks earlier and a frighteningly close near-upset loss at home to elevate Clovis West’s girls basketball team back to national caliber.
“We got back to details and kind of got that mojo going again,” Golden Eagles coach Craig Campbell said after his team closed a 5-0 first half in the Tri-River Athletic Conference with a 73-30 homecourt rout of Clovis.
The Cougars entered the game ranked second by The Bee behind Clovis West in the Central Section, 21-2 overall and 4-0 in the league.
But they were no match for the Eagles, who received five 3-pointers from four players while bolting to a 23-8 first-quarter lead and soared from there while winning their 45th consecutive game in the TRAC.
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We got back to details and kind of got that mojo going again.
Coach Craig Campbell of Clovis West, which has its past four games by an average of 49 points
Clovis West last lost in the league 43-30 to Clovis on Feb. 17, 2012.
More important is what the Eagles have done since losing 70-46 to Centennial-Las Vegas on Jan. 16 in the MLK Showcase at St. Mary’s-Stockton and then having to rally at home to deny Central, 62-58, in the TRAC two days later.
Clovis West had beaten Centennial – Nevada’s top-ranked team – 57-42 en route to winning the elite bracket of the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona on Dec. 20.
“The Central game and the Centennial blowout were a reality check for them and humbling,” says Campbell, who’s 112-3 with 11 titles in the TRAC in his 12th season at Clovis West.
But there’s no doubting that the giddy has returned to the Eagles’ step, evident in four TRAC wins by an average of 49 points since escaping against Central.
The two-week run better represents a Clovis West team ranked second in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, Nos. 2 and 5 nationally in USA TODAY’s Computer and Expert rankings, and No. 7 nationally by MaxPreps.
Centennial-Las Vegas is Nos. 3 and 4 nationally in the USA TODAY rankings and No. 5 by MaxPreps.
Friday night, Clovis West made 11 3-pointers by six players, including four from San Jose State-bound Megan Anderson among her 16 points.
45 Consecutive girls basketball wins in the Tri-River Athletic Conference by Clovis West
Sophomore Madison Campbell, seemingly unaffected by two fingers taped on her right shooting hand after fracturing the middle finger with 2 minutes remaining in the Centennial-Las Vegas game, made three 3-pointers and 15 points.
In addition, Bre’yanna Sanders – who has signed with Arizona State and was honored before the Clovis game for being nominated to the McDonald’s All-America game – scored 13 points and Tess Amundsen 12.
But the player of the game for the Eagles was Sarah Bates, who had nine rebounds, seven points and three steals.
Seven first-half rebounds by the UC Santa Barbara-signed senior guard fired a message to her teammates.
“Sarah was phenomenal,” Craig Campbell says. “Her effort, grit and leadership in the first half, those were championship plays, a challenge to her teammates, and they followed her lead.”
Bates, Anderson, point guard Danae Marquez (San Jose State) and Sanders are four-year varsity players and winners of three straight section Division I titles.
While winning TRAC and section championships are a priority, hanging a CIF State Open Division banner is the ultimate target.
“We’re happy where we are but not satisfied,” says Bates. “We’re happy not, but we have to get to the end (with state title) and then we’ll be really happy.”
Central Section basketball rankings
- 1. Clovis West (TRAC, 21-2)
- 2. Ridgeview (SYL, 17-2)
- 3. Bakersfield (SWYL, 14-10)
- 4. Central (TRAC, 12-6)
- 5. Liberty-Bakersfield (SWYL, 17-6)
- 6. Buchanan (TRAC, 17-6)
- 7. Clovis North (TRAC, 14-8)
- 8. Independence (SYL, 17-6)
- 9. Selma (CSL, 20-4)
- 10. Edison (CMAC, 12-11)
- 11. Memorial (CMAC, 18-5)
- 12. West (SYL, 17-5)
- 13. Sanger (CMAC, 15-6)
- 14. Immanuel (CSL, 12-7)
- 15. Clovis East (TRAC, 14-10)
- Division I: 1. Clovis West, 2. Bakersfield, 3. Central
- Division II: 1. Ridgeview, 2. Independence, 3. Memorial
- Division III: 1. Selma, 2. West, 3. Sanger
- Division IV: 1. Immanuel, 2. Madera South (16-6), 3. Kerman (16-7)
- Division V: 1. California City (16-3), 2. Strathmore (14-9), 3. Farmersville (15-8)
- 1. Clovis West (TRAC, 20-2)
- 2. Clovis (TRAC, 21-3)
- 3. Independence (SYL, 20-3)
- 4. Clovis North (TRAC, 14-8)
- 5. Mission Oak (EYL, 17-6)
- 6. Bakersfield (SWYL, 16-3)
- 7. Central (TRAC, 13-9)
- 8. Ridgeview (SYL, 17-6)
- 9. Hanford (WYL, 15-7)
- 10. Stockdale (SWYL, 17-6)
- 11. Golden Valley (SYL, 17-4)
- 12. Strathmore (East Sequoia, 21-3)
- 13. Sierra Pacific (East Sequoia, 18-4)
- 14. Selma (CSL, 17-7)
- 15. Tulare Western (EYL, 11-10)
- Division I: 1. Clovis West, 2. Clovis, 3. Clovis North
- Division II: 1. Independence, 2. Bakersfield, 3. Selma
- Division III: 1. Mission Oak, 2. Golden Valley, 3. Madera (16-7)
- Division IV: 1. Strathmore, 2. Sierra Pacific, 3. Kerman (19-5)
- Division V: 1. Memorial (17-6), 2. Kern Valley (12-5), 3. Caruthers (14-6)