Statistics strongly suggest Clovis West High’s girls basketball team has not been threatened by Central Section competition this season.
The Golden Eagles are 14-0 against those teams, winning by an average of 49.6 points.
But, guaranteed, they’ll play at home Tuesday night against Central with long memories.
The section Division I semifinal at 7 p.m. comes two months after top-seeded Clovis West (28-2) overcame eight- and five-point deficits in the third and fourth quarters to escape, 62-58, against the Grizzlies in a Tri-River Athletic Conference game on the Eagles’ court.
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Two weeks later, Clovis West won 67-46 at Central in the league’s second round.
“Central has some elite athletes and good length,” Eagles coach Craig Campbell says. “They are very talented. Heading into the first matchup, we had been telling the team for weeks that they were slipping with their effort and attention to detail. We were very fortunate to win that night.”
Sophomores Jayla Green (24 points, 13 rebounds) and 6-foot-3 Ramani Parker (12 points, 10 rebounds) were dominant for fourth-seeded Central (18-10) in the first duel against a Clovis West team minus sophomore star Madison Campbell.
The coach’s daughter, who missed only that game with a fractured middle finger on her (right) shooting hand, has already received 11 scholarship offers, including Fresno State, Washington, Arizona and Utah.
“Playing them a second time, and us being at full strength, our girls knew what a dangerous opponent they could be and came out with much better focus and effort,” Craig Campbell says. “They’ve recommitted themselves to details and expectations and have been practicing and playing much better overall since.”
We were very fortunate to win that night.
Clovis West coach Craig Campbell in reference to a 62-58 home-court win over Central on Jan. 18
All five of the Eagles’ starters have signed major-college scholarships, including Bre’yanna Sanders (Arizona State), who rescued them in the first game against Central with 24 points and three late steals.
Megan Anderson (San Jose State), who scored 17 points in an 87-29 quarterfinal rout of Stockdale, Sarah Bates (UC Santa Barbara), Danae Marquez (San Jose State) and Tess Amundsen (Boise State), have also signed for Clovis West.
The Eagles, seeking a fifth-straight section title under Craig Campbell, are ranked second in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and second and fifth in USA Today Sports’ Computer and Expert Rankings. Campbell is 293-73 (.801) in 12 years at Clovis West.
The other D-I semifinal will send No. 6 Hanford (22-8) to No. 2 Clovis (24-6) seven weeks after the Cougars overcame a 16-point, second- deficit to defeat the Bullpups 60-55. Hanford had won 99 consecutive home games.
Naykimra Perryman banked in a short jumper with 9 seconds remaining to give the Bullpups a 59-58 quarterfinal win at No. 3 Clovis North. Hanford senior point guard Janelle Sumilong scored 30 points, increasing her school career-record total to 2,270 in four years. She’s sixth all-time in the section, says historian Bob Barnett.
49.6 Clovis West’s average winning margin in 14 games against Central Section competition
All top girls and boys seeds are still standing.
Others in the girls entering Tuesday night semifinals are Independence (D-II), Mission Oak (D-III), Sierra Pacific (D-IV) and Memorial (D-V).
Boys top seeds entering Wednesday night semifinals are Central (D-I), Ridgeview (D-II), Selma (D-III), Immanuel (D-IV) and California City (D-V).
Girls and boys finals in all divisions will return to Selland Arena for the 13th year Friday and Saturday. State playoffs will begin next week.