Clovis News

CVC boys ride their bigs into hoops regionals

Lance Reeves, as a shaggy-haired, 6-foot-1 guard who fired outside and in with equal efficiency, delivered four years of excitement to Central Valley Christian High's boys basketball program.

He scored a school career second-best 1,630 points and led the Cavaliers to the 2009 Central Section Division V title.

But they've grown up a lot since then.

This isn't to suggest that Grant Verhoeven and Derek Van Grouw didn't have an inside presence last year. They did while combining for 21 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks a game.

This season, however, the 6-8 Verhoeven -- averaging 20.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.9 blocks -- and 6-5 Van Grouw (16.5-8.3-1.5) have given CVC a D-I look in a D-V division.

And 14th-seeded West Valley Christian-West Hills (20-4), without a player taller than 6-2, will confront this tonight at 7 o'clock against the No. 3 Cavs (25-4) in Visalia in the first round of the Southern California Regionals.

"We have size, and that always helps," Cavs coach Blake Vander Schaaf said. "We're usually real guard heavy, but this year is the complete opposite."

Verhoeven (17 points, 13 rebounds, five steals, one block) and Van Grouw (14-10-2-3) overwhelmed Mission Prep as CVC won 53-37 Friday in the section D-V final at Selland Arena.

It was there, however, that Cavs junior point guard Andrew Johnson sprained an ankle 1 minute into the game, played only 7 minutes total, finishing scoreless with one assist.

The team leader with a 4.6-assist average -- slightly ahead of Lance Van Grouw's 4.4 -- Johnson is questionable for tonight.

And, while CVC has been carried by the big men inside, Johnson's status has Vander Schaaf concerned in the 16-team regional bracket, which will continue Thursday.

"He's our distributor and best passer, our catalyst in getting the ball up floor and leading to easy buckets," Vander Schaaf said. "He's a vital part to what we want to do."

Last year, the Cavs, as a No. 4 seed in an eight-team bracket, opened the regionals with an 81-66 rout of View Park-Los Angeles before losing 80-67 at then-top-seeded Windward-Los Angeles.

Tonight, No. 4 Windward (23-8) will host No. 13 Christian Life-Escondido (17-10).

Should CVC and Windward win as expected tonight, they'll play Thursday in Visalia.

"Usually, we're considered the weakest section [among four sections in the SoCal Regionals], so to get a 3 seed is a pretty good accomplishment," Vander Schaaf said. "You don't have to travel, you sleep in your own bed and get home cooking, so it's much nicer. We're excited and ready to go."

Other section regional notes: The section has advanced 23 teams -- 11 boys and 12 girls -- into the regionals. And 12 will host, including all 10 of the section champions.

The only section team to host a higher seed are No. 10 Clovis East's boys (25-7), who will oppose No. 7 Santa Monica (24-7) of the Southern Section. Clovis East's seed is questionably low given the fact the Timberwolves beat Clovis West three times, and Clovis West beat Leuzinger-Lawndale (24-7) -- a Southern Section team seeded fifth in D-I.

The section's highest seed is the No. 2 Clovis West (24-4) girls, who will host No. 15 Taft-Woodland Hills (16-9) of the LA City Section. The Golden Eagles, with 6-3 senior Janae Coffee, will have a size advantage against Taft, which lost 76-38 at Clovis West in a regional opener two years ago.