Clovis News: Sports

Clovis West girls find futuristic motivation

If there's any one player who couldn't be faulted for peeking around the corner and ahead to the Central Section Division I girls basketball playoffs it's Brianna Orlich.

The precocious Clovis West High senior, seven months shy of advancing her career to Columbia of the Ivy League, played for section champions as a freshman and sophomore before losing to Stockdale in last year's final at Selland Arena.

"I'm just itching to get back," she said Wednesday night after delivering 24 points and 10 rebounds in the second-ranked Golden Eagles' 76-57 Tri-River Athletic Conference win at No. 5 Buchanan.

The itch gets a bit personal for Orlich, considering the possibility No. 4 Stockdale (23-3) not only is rolling once again, the Mustangs may get an additional boost in the form of Melissa Sweat, who powered their title conquest of top-seeded Clovis West a year ago.

Section commissioner Jim Crichlow said he expects to rule this morning on the eligibility of San Diego State-bound Sweat, who has returned to Stockdale because of working circumstances involving her father after playing through early January for Liberty-Madera Ranchos.

Orlich and Sweat were teammates on club team Nike Storm last summer.

"I want the best for her," Orlich said. "But Stockdale's Stockdale, so we're going to come out if she's there or not; it doesn't matter to any of us."

Meanwhile, the Eagles (18-4, 7-0) -- ranked fourth in the state's D-I -- continue to march through the TRAC, where they've won four consecutive championships and 51 straight games.

Senior center Janae Coffee (Long Beach State) contributed 19 points and 13 rebounds, senior forward Senyce Parrish (Sacramento State) had nine points and junior point guard Katie Ogdon controlled the floor for Clovis West.

Sophomores Elise Kreighoff and Heidi Johnson scored 17 and 13 points for Buchanan (18-5, 5-2), which has actually narrowed the gap on the Eagles under second-year coach Jenny Thigpen.

The Bears had lost by an average of 40 points to Clovis West in eight games the previous four years.

"From a program that won five games the year before I took over, to be standing 18-5 right now, that's pretty dang good," Thigpen said.

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