Clovis West High’s girls basketball team is still breathing.
“Barely, barely,” said coach Craig Campbell after the top-seeded Golden Eagles closed with a 6-0 rush to repel No. 8 Troy-Fullerton 68-61 Friday night at Clovis West in the quarterfinals of the Southern California Open Division Regional.
The Eagles, ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today Sports Computer Rankings, received an assist, two defensive rebounds and four free throws from four-year point guard Danae Marquez in the final 50 seconds while improving to 31-2 and denying a Troy team they crushed 78-51 at home seven weeks ago.
Troy senior guard Kianna Smith, who will play in the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago in three weeks, made a layup after her own steal and assisted on Aaliyah Tu’ua’s 3-pointer as the Warriors of the Southern Section cut Clovis West’s lead to 62-61 with 1:45 remaining.
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“Nail-biter,” said Marquez, whose team had experienced little of it in four months while outscoring the opposition by an average of 33.4 points.
Further, that came against a schedule with seven teams among the nation’s top 15.
“The difference is, Kianna is the best player we’ve faced from all of them,” Campbell said of the Cal signee, who scored 22. “She’s absolutely special.”
Want more special?
It’s coming: Destiny Littleton, a senior All-American guard averaging 44.2 points for fifth-seeded Bishop’s-La Jolla, which will arrive at Clovis West for a 7 p.m. Tuesday semifinal with a 30-3 record.
The Knights beat No. 4 Harvard/Westlake-Los Angeles 63-60.
“Another gauntlet, another All-American,” said Campbell, whose Eagles are one of 16 teams in arguably the nation’s most daunting tournament – California’s Open Division.
“All 16 of those teams would win state in most states,” Campbell said. “All of them are very well-coached, have at least one very special player and a bunch of (major-college) kids. We’re trying to battle that with our team component.”
But also one with five NCAA D-I signees in Marquez (San Jose State), Bre’yanna Sanders (Arizona State), Megan Anderson (San Jose State), Sarah Bates (UC Santa Barbara) and Tess Amundsen (Boise State). And then there’s the coach’s daughter, sophomore Madison Campbell, the most heavily recruited of all.
Sanders finished with 20 points, Amundsen 15, Bates 13 and Anderson 11.
Clovis West made 13 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter (6 of 6 by Bates) and was 19 of 25 overall. Troy was 9 of 11.
“They shot more free throws in the fourth quarter than we did for the game,” Warriors coach Roger Anderson said. “That’s tough to swallow.
“But hats off to Clovis West. I love Clovis West, I love their coach. They play really hard and are a very, very talented team.”