Clovis News: Sports

Clovis North boys get first hoops playoff win

On a night a large band competition for drummers was held at Clovis North High, nobody played with a better beat than No. 23 in blue and white in the adjacent basketball gym.

And Redwood's Ivory Easley just about beat the top-seeded Broncos right out of the Central Section Division II playoffs.

"He's the nice, little, quiet diamond down there in Visalia that not a whole lot of people know about," Rangers coach Darryl Hardwick said after the 5-foot-9 Easley scored 11 of his 24 points to charge a furious Rangers rally in the fourth quarter, only to have his eighth-seeded team lose 68-62 in overtime.

The first boys basketball playoff win in Clovis North (21-11) history came only after the Broncos closed the game with a 7-1 run on Zach Boman's layup off Ethan Lenox's textbook bounce-pass assist, Kokie Bijev's three-point play off his offensive rebound and Ben Huffman's two free throws.

"I feel very fortunate to survive and advance," said coach Rob Streeter, whose Broncos will remain at home to play 13th-seeded East Bakersfield (19-10), which destroyed No. 5 Hanford West 71-34 on the road.

The Clovis North-East winner will advance to the D-II championship at Selland Arena at 8 p.m. Friday.

The Broncos' 10-0 record against section D-II competition – a schedule crafted by design by Streeter while pointing to the postseason – included a 68-48 rout of Southeast Yosemite League co-champion East on a neutral court in January.

But the coach is feeling discomfort, even after his team was hardened additionally by the Tri-River Athletic Conference, where the Broncos placed fifth with a 4-6 record against D-I competition.

Redwood (13-13) arrived Friday having gone 6-6 in the West Yosemite League, which is hardly confused with the TRAC in terms of depth and quality.

But the Rangers never were intimidated, making their first five shots and, ultimately, rallying after trailing 51-38 late in the third.

"I'm very frustrated," Streeter said. "For us to get past Wednesday and into Selland, we have to correct a few things."

Lenox scored 14 points, Bijev had 12 and point guard Quinton Duckett 10 for Clovis North, which was bounced by 12th-seeded Washington 60-54 in the first round of the D-III playoffs last year.

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