As the stage has gotten bigger, the stars on the Immanuel High boys basketball team have continued to raise their game.
So much so that Immanuel is one win from advancing to the CIF Southern California Regional Division IV final.
The Clovis West girls basketball team and Sierra Pacific girls basketball team are in the same position and need a win Tuesday to reach the regional final of the CIF Open and D-IV playoffs, respectively.
Fifth-seeded Immanuel (22-8) faces its biggest challenge yet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, playing at top-seeded Burbank (25-9).
But as the Eagles have proved over and over, bigger games have just meant bigger performances from Immanuel’s Nate Kendricks and Darrin Person Jr.
30.3 Points averaged by Immanuel point guard Nate Kendricks during his past three games
Kendricks, the nephew of NFL linebackers Mychal and Eric Kendricks, has averaged 30.3 points and 8.7 rebounds and drained a combined 10 of 27 3-pointers (37 percent) in the past three games.
Person, a 6-foot-6 wing who signed with Cal State Bakersfield, has averaged 24 points and 11.3 rebounds in that stretch: Immanuel’s 58-51 win against Madera South in the Central Section final, 64-53 win against No. 12 Hesperia in the opening round of the regional and a 73-59 win Saturday over No. 4 Twentynine Palms.
Burbank’s postseason run has been all close games.
After falling 55-54 to Brentwood School during the Southern Section D-III AA final, the Bulldogs held off No. 16 Madera South 55-53 to begin the regionals then edged No. 8 Blair 73-70 in overtime last week.
Clovis West at home
The top-seeded Clovis West girls (31-2) will host No. 5 Bishop’s-La Jolla (30-3) and take on California’s all-time leading scorer.
Destiny Littleton, a 5-foot-9 guard who’s signed with USC, established the scoring record in January and earned All-America status after averaging 44.2 points this season.
Bishop’s is coming off a 63-60 victory over No. 4 Harvard Westlake.
Clovis West will counter with its vaunted full-court press and halfcourt trapping that’s in constant use thanks to a deep and balanced Eagles roster that features five players who signed D-I scholarships (Bre’yanna Sanders, Danae Marquez, Sarah Bates, Tess Amundsen, Megan Anderson).
In the team’s lone common opponent matchup, Clovis West lost to Archbishop Mitty 76-75 in overtime on Dec. 10, and Bishop’s fell to Mitty 58-38 on Jan. 16.
No. 7 seed Sierra Pacific (29-4) visits No. 3 Village Christian-Sun Valley (30-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Sierra Pacific is the lowest seed remaining in D-IV. The Golden Bears have won 14 straight.
Sierra Pacific has six players averaging at least 7.7 points, led by Haley Bettencourt at 11.5 points per game and Hailey Leslie at 10.4.
Village Christian also rides a 14-game win streak. Among common opponents, Village Christian defeated Strathmore 58-42 in the state playoffs; Sierra Pacific took 2 of 3 from Strathmore, losing 48-45 but then winning 57-40 and 60-46.
CIF State playoffs
- Girls Open Division: No. 5 Bishop’s-La Jolla (30-3) at No. 1 Clovis West
- Boys Division IV: No. 5 Immanuel (22-8) at No. 1 Burbank (25-9)
- Girls Division IV: Sierra Pacific (29-4) at No. 3 Village Christian-Sun Valley (30-3).
- Opening tipoff: All games begin 7 p.m. Tuesday
- Of note: Winners advance to the Southern California Regional championship