Clovis News: Sports

Clovis West boys, Hanford girls top seeds in hoops playoffs

Central Section basketball seeding lasting 6-1/2 hours Saturday produced predictable Division I top seeds in Clovis West High's boys and Hanford's girls.

But it's the girls division, where Hanford and Clovis West are seeded Nos. 1-2, that offers the most intrigue.

Their history is rich: the Bullpups winning a state Division II title in 2001 and five section championships in three divisions the past decade; the Golden Eagles winning 12 section crowns in their 34-year history.

But only now are they linked in the same division, for the first time in 10 years. And a potential title showdown looms at 6 p.m. March 5 at Selland Arena.

"Tradition wise, they've been the cream of the crop, and us, too," Hanford coach Tom Parrish said. "I like our chances; I think we're the team to beat."

Clovis West coach Craig Campbell added, "As far as interest level in the Valley, that's obviously the game people would want to see."

Equally expected as the Bullpups' and Eagles' seeds were several hot spots as section commissioner Jim Crichlow and his three area assistants drew a total of 10 brackets in Porterville.

"I'm tired," Crichlow said late in the afternoon after his committee once again emphasized strength of schedules, extending a pattern of high seeds for the section's power league -- the Tri-River Athletic Conference.

This is why, as one glaring example, a Clovis North boys team that placed fifth in the TRAC with a 4-6 record was top-seeded in D-II over Tulare, which is 24-1, went 16-0 in the East Yosemite League and has won 13 straight.

Clovis North (20-11) has five wins over section D-I teams; Tulare didn't play any.

"You look who those teams play game after game and there's no comparison," Crichlow said. "Unfortunately, Tulare is stuck in [the EYL], and that's it."

Redskins coach Mark Hatton took the high road: "I want to congratulate Clovis North for getting the No. 1 seed. We've been trying to convince the kids to concentrate on what they control. We're putting all our focus on Sunnyside and Tulare Western."

Wednesday's winner between No. 7 Sunnyside and No. 10 Tulare Western will visit Tulare in Friday's quarterfinals.

Other seeding hot spots:

  • Clovis North's girls (15-12), who placed fifth in the TRAC at 3-7, were seeded No. 2 over No. 3 Monache, whose 18-2 record included a 16-0 mark in the EYL.
  • Clovis' girls (21-6), expecting a No. 3 seed after finishing second to Clovis West in the TRAC, settled for a No. 4 behind No. 3 Centennial. That was questioned because the Golden Hawks (26-4), champions of the Southwest Yosemite League, lost 59-47 at Clovis North on Jan. 6.
  • In boys D-I, SWYL co-champion Bakersfield (23-4) landed a No. 2 seed over County/Metro Athletic Conference winner Bullard (24-6). The Knights thought they had earned leverage with a nonleague win over Stockdale, which beat Bakersfield 10 days ago.
  • The other top seeds were Hoover (D-III), Central Valley Christian (D-IV) and Fresno Christian (D-V) among the boys and Garces (D-II), Tulare (D-III), Sierra (D-IV) and CVC (D-V) among the girls.

    Section playoff alignment aimed at competitive equity often results in a school (i.e., CVC) competing in different divisions with its boys and girls.

    Playoffs will begin Tuesday with the girls and Wednesday with the boys.

    The finals will be staged for the seventh straight year at Selland Arena on March 4-5.

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