A day of thunder, lightning and storms followed Clovis West High’s girls basketball team into its gym Friday night as the Golden Eagles rained three-pointers, depth and textbook execution on one of the state’s most successful programs.
Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth, which arrived in Fresno with 103 wins and three CIF State Division IV titles in the past four seasons, was no match for 30-3 Clovis West, which soared to an 82-55 first-round victory in the Southern California Regional Open Division.
Sarah Bates scored 20 points, including two three-pointers, Danae Marquez had four of the team’s eight threes in an 17-point night, and Bre’yanna Sanders and Megan Anderson added 16 and 13 points, respectively, as second-seeded Clovis West won its 17th consecutive game.
“The difference between them and most people is they stick to their system the entire game,” said Alicia Komaki, who has coached Sierra Canyon for the four-year run. “They continue to press, and if you get layups – which we didn’t – they’re going to stay with it. They run their system better than anyone I’ve seen, to be honest.”
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That includes Chaminade-West Hills, which beat Sierra Canyon 63-29 two weeks ago. Chaminade, top-seeded in the SoCal Open Division and ranked fourth in the state overall by Cal-Hi Sports, advanced with a 79-67 win over eighth-seeded Palisades and will remain at home in Tuesday’s semifinals to play fourth-seeded Mission Hills-San Marcos, which escaped 49-45 against Windward.
Clovis West, ranked eighth in the state, will also stay at home Tuesday to play at 7 p.m. against third-seeded Long Beach Poly, which won 46-39 at home against La Jolla Country Day. Poly (26-3) of the Southern Section is ranked No. 5 in the state.
The SoCal Open Division championship will be March 26 at 6 p.m. at The Pyramid at Long Beach State.
But first Long Beach Poly, one of the nation’s most storied athletic programs.
“To be the best you’ve got to beat the best,” said Marquez, the Central Section’s best point guard, who approached a triple double with 10 assists and eight rebounds. “We’re excited, it’s here and we’re not going to back down.”
The Golden Eagles surely didn’t against Sierra Canyon.
“They walked into our gym with a little swagger,” Marquez said, “and we’re like, ‘OK.’ ”
That said, Marquez couldn’t have forecast the 27-point throttling of a Southern Section power. “Never did we think we’d blow out an Open Division team, let alone a team that plays in such a hard section. To say I’m pleased is an understatement. I’m happy, excited and grateful.”
A crowd of around 1,500 saw a game that was never in question.
Layups by Bates and Anderson off excellent Marquez feeds closed the first half to make it 39-23 Clovis West.
“They’re really good and they’re real good at home,” Komaki said. “What a great environment and great crowd. They shoot so well. It’s really hard to defend when everybody can knock down threes. There’s not much you can do about it.”
Clovis West’s three-pointers increased its school-record total to 247. And, in Bates (junior), Marquez (junior), Anderson (junior) and Madison Campbell (freshman), not one came from a senior Friday night from a team that rival’s Hanford’s 2010 state record-setting D-II group as the most efficient in section history.
Bates made the first three-pointer Friday night, giving the Eagles a 5-2 lead.
Then it was Marquez, Campbell and Marquez for the second, third and fourth threes, and it was 29-17 midway through the second quarter, and the rout was on.
Marquez and Bates were exceptional with their backcourt ball distribution and Anderson, Sanders and Aysha Kirkland dominated the Trailblazers inside.
Immanuel boys put up fight in loss – National top-ranked Chino Hills (32-0) tied the state record for most 100-point games with its 18th, defeating Immanuel 103-71 behind 36 points from Lonzo Ball in an Open Division boys first-rounder.
But Central Section D-IV champion and eighth-seeded Immanuel (25-6) gave the Huskies a much more difficult time than expected, receiving four first-half three-pointers from Nate Kendricks and trailing 62-45 in the third quarter.
Chino Hills arrived with a 99.8 scoring average. The 18th 100-point game tied Balboa-San Francisco’s 1995-96 season state record.
Clovis West 82, Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth 55
Sierra Canyon (23-8)
Clovis West (30-3)
SC: Spencer Vinson 11, Shivon Ganther 6, Savannah Lewis 2, Ryann Payne 15, Amanda Olinger 4, Alexis Griggsby 17.
CW: Danae Marquez 17—, Sarah Bates 20, Briara Robles 2, Aari’yanna Sanders 2, Aysha Kirkland 3, Madison Campbell 7, Megan Anderson 13, Bre’yanna Sanders 16, Mia Gliatta 2.