Clovis News: Sports

Two high school basketball games raise key questions

A terrific Tuesday in Central Section basketball had Buchanan High's Jackson Carbajal shoot down second-ranked Clovis East with a concussion and Hanford girls coach Tom Parrish unleash his long-range arsenal against feeble Mt. Whitney with a clear head.

The results, while sensational, have raised questions.

Carbajal, who has some concussion history, feared he might have suffered another after getting whacked in the head in the first half. But he responded well to a trainer's examination at halftime, returned to the floor -- "loopy," he says now -- and merely made 9 of 11 shots, including 5 of 6 3-pointers, while scoring 24 of his 26 points in an 81-80 Tri-River Athletic Conference win over the Timberwolves.

The question here isn't about Buchanan's medical negligence, as the senior guard and leading scorer in school history was deemed fit to continue playing. This is about the unlikelihood of staging a shooting clinic against high-caliber competition while playing in a fog.

Parrish, conversely, has come under more scrutiny after allowing his state eighth-ranked team to launch 70 3-pointers -- making a state-record 27 -- in a 117-31 win over 3-21 Mt. Whitney.

He found the 'zone'

You never know what you're going to get when interviewing high school athletes. But, having covered the Clovis East-Buchanan game, I certainly didn't anticipate any communication problems with Carbajal -- a four-year starter, son of a coach (Deron Carbajal) and grandson of another (Frank Carbajal).

Jackson Carbajal, simply, arrived practically with a basketball in his hands and the parlance to go with it. Only, at his moment, I'm not sure he remembered shooting it, much less so brilliantly.

"I smashed my head in the first half and I was a little out of it," he said following the game. "After that, I just got into the zone."

Carbajal spoke softly and with a blank stare.

The explanation came 2 hours later when I spoke to his father and Buchanan assistant coach, Deron: "We're at the hospital."

It was there, at Saint Agnes Medical Center, that tests revealed a concussion. Carbajal said Thursday that he won't play in tonight's Tri-River Athletic Conference regular season-ending showdown matching No. 3 Buchanan (19-6, 7-2) at No. 1 Central (21-4, 8-1). He expects to return for the playoffs next week.

Now, the father looks back in fright: "Imagine what what would have happened if he would have got another blow to the head? Had we known for sure he had a concussion, we would not have played him."

Carbajal, who checked out of football early in his junior season after suffering a concussion, was considerably more chipper while resting at his home Wednesday morning.

"I wasn't really concentrating," he said of his second-half play against Clovis East, "but I guess I concentrated enough. And I was playing more loose. It worked out for the best."

Shoot, shooters, shoot

At Hanford, Parrish has a problem: His team may be the best-shooting team in the state. The 25-3 Bullpups have outscored their opponents by 46 points a game and their starters average just 13 minutes of the 32-minute games in West Yosemite League play.

And that's where it gets bad: They've outscored WYL teams by an average of 64 points a game while extending their winning streak in the conference to 47.

"People see the scores and think we're running them up, but they just don't know," Parrish says. "They've got to come to the games and see how easy this team can score; that's how good of a team it is. Honestly, I don't know what to do."

Against Mt. Whitney, he did this: After seeing his team repeat layup upon layup while taking a 40-1 first-quarter lead, and with the Pioneers packing their defense in the key, he instructed the Bullpups to fire long range.

They're destined to be the best in state history doing this.

With 310 3-pointers for the season -- an average of 11 a game -- Hanford is chasing down the state record of 338 by Pinewood-Los Altos Hills in 2003.

While it appears Hanford and Yosemite have been deliberately one-upping each other while exchanging the state single-game record for 3s -- the Badgers had it with 23 after both shared it with 21 -- Parrish says he had no intention of gunning for the mark entering the Mt. Whitney game.

Afterward, Pioneers coach Bre Vaughan gave him a hug, actually thanking him for virtually allowing her team to score in the fourth quarter.

Today, all she has to say is this: "I'm proud of Hanford's accomplishments."

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