Clovis News: Sports

Buchanan boys snag top seed

Buchanan High's boys basketball program waited 13 years to snag a piece of the Tri-River Athletic Conference basketball championship Friday.

Then, Saturday, it seemed almost that long for Bears coach Eric Swain as the Central Section playoff seedings were unfolding in Porterville.

"The wait was worth it," he said midafternoon after learning his team is top-seeded in Division I. "I'm a lot better now."

The better question for Buchanan: Is Jackson Carbajal?

A four-year starter and school career scoring leader, he missed Friday's 67-56 upset of top-ranked Central with a concussion.

The Sacramento State-bound guard will be re-evaluated Tuesday, when the 20-6 Bears have a bye in the first round of the playoffs. They'll open at home Thursday against the winner of the game between No. 8 Stockdale and No. 9 Clovis.

"For us, this is kind of uncharted territory," said Swain, who, in five years, has upgraded a program that has never won an outright league title and has shared but two in its 17-year history.

Setting standards otherwise is common ground for the TRAC, which dominated the seedings, as it has D-I with eight titles in the decade -- Clovis West winning six (one stripped later by forfeit) and Clovis East two.

Clovis East and Central, which shared the title with Buchanan, landed the Nos. 2-3 seeds.

The surprise was a lowly No. 7 for Clovis West, which placed fourth in the TRAC, but whose success against state-class competition was largely disregarded. And that sets up the top first-round matchup in either the boys or girls divisions with the Golden Eagles playing at home Tuesday against No. 10 Edison, the defending D-I champion that also captured four D-II crowns in the decade.

Clovis West's 21-4 girls received the D-I top seed as expected. And coach Craig Campbell is confident the Golden Eagles -- led by recent Cal-Hi Sports athlete of the week Brianna Orlich -- can win their sixth section title of the decade after they throttled 23-7 Clovis 82-41 Friday.

"About four weeks ago, we were winning, but inconsistent," he said. "But, the last couple of weeks we really started clicking and, [Friday] night, we played tremendous."

The Nos. 2-4 D-I seeds were defending champion Stockdale, Buchanan and Edison.

All the section championships will return for the fifth year to Selland Arena March 5-6.

Other seeding highlights:

-- North Yosemite League boys champion Memorial, boosted no doubt by a 68-51 early-season thumping of East Yosemite League titlist Tulare, was top-seeded over the No. 2 Redskins in D-II.

-- Only D-V Central Valley Christian is a defending boys champion with a top seed. Ridgeview and Sierra are the No. 1s in D-III and D-IV.

-- Hanford (D-II) and Corcoran (D-IV) are top-seeded defending champions in the girls. Frontier (D-III) and Fresno Christian (D-V) also earned top billing.