Clovis News: Sports

Clovis West girls stay the course for hoops win

A mutiny, an alarm, an eight-point deficit -- no matter. Clovis West High's winning streak lives in Tri-River Athletic Conference girls basketball.

Their roster reduced to 10 after a group departure of five players, the second-ranked Golden Eagles nonetheless received 24 points from Aly Orlich, 22 from Katie Ogdon, outgunned No. 3 Buchanan 11-3 in 3-pointers and roared past the Bears 63-53 Friday night for their 56th consecutive win in the league.

Four-year varsity veteran Ogdon made three of her six 3-pointers to open the third quarter, when Clovis West (9-8, 2-0) combined uncontested perimeter shooting against Buchanan's zone defense with effective full-court pressure behind Orlich and Jazmine Simpson to forge a 24-4 run that made the difference in the Bears' gym.

This occurred a couple of weeks after the five players -- including two starters -- quit after a disagreement with six-year coach Craig Campbell in a tournament in Arizona.

Consequently, while the Central Section defending D-I champions have seasoned talent with the likes of Ogdon and Orlich, they are now much smaller in numbers and height, and have three freshmen among their top seven.

"It is what it is," Campbell said. "We've got 10 great kids working hard and are extremely coachable, and that brings me great joy in practice. They've bought into what we're doing and that's where we're at."

He didn't elaborate on the turmoil that cost him starters Jaycee Ribera and 6-foot senior Leslie Ahlenslager, among others.

"They no longer wanted to be a part of it, and I'll leave it at that," he said. "We have a big hole in our playing time and the freshmen got thrown into the mix. But we're just now hitting our stride and, in a month, I think we'll be a lot better, so we're real fortunate to get a win tonight."

It came against a 13-6 Buchanan team that bolted to a 14-6 early second-quarter lead on a night 6-foot junior center Heidi Johnson delivered 15 points and 14 rebounds.

It was during that time that the game was suspended briefly after an alarm went off inadvertently in the gym.

Clovis West responded to it, blistering the Bears' zone defense also behind Orlich and sophomore Taylor Knebel, who combined for the team's remaining five 3-pointers.

"We have a lot of shooters, they zoned us and we had to come up with the 3s for sure," said Ogdon, who contributed to last year's 27-5 team.

Regarding the streak, she added: "I've known what it feels like to be undefeated [in the TRAC], but it's getting scary this year."

Related stories from Fresno Bee