Clovis News: Sports

Sneak preview: Central Section Championships

The following is a preview of the matchups at this weekend's event:


No. 1 CLOVIS WEST (24-4) vs. No. 3 BULLARD (26-6)

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

How they got here: Golden Eagles won Tri-River Athletic Conference with a 9-1 record; defeated No. 9 Centennial 87-42 and No. 4 and defending D-I champion Clovis East 60-56 in the playoffs. Knights won County/Metro Athletic Conference with a 9-1 record; defeated No. 11 Central 67-53, No. 2 Bakersfield 65-54.

Selland Specials: Clovis West senior guard Denzel Johnson, the team's tallest player at 6-2, has scored 46 points in the postseason. The straight-A student will play next for Santa Clara. Bullard, similar to the Eagles, is loaded with shooters, featuring Jajuan Hammond, Anthony White and Mike Hill. And Carl Goodman is a solid offensive and defensive force inside.


No. 1 CLOVIS NORTH (22-11) vs. No. 2 TULARE (26-1)

When: Today, 8 p.m.

How they got here: Broncos placed fifth against D-I competition in six-team TRAC with a 4-6 record; defeated No. 8 Redwood 68-62 in OT, No. 4 East 62-55. Redskins won East Yosemite League at 16-0; defeated No. 7 Sunnyside 66-39, No. 3 Memorial 71-52.

Selland Specials: Clovis North's Quinton Duckett runs a sharp point, Richie Tesmer is a threat from the perimeter and Ethan Lenox has had powerful moments inside. Lenox will have to bring his A-game for the Broncos to have a shot against Tulare's section-best frontline of David Love and Keonta Vernon. Love, 6-6, 230 and a ponytailed Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls) lookalike, has recovered from a broken leg suffered in game 3 this season. He's averaging 16.1 points, 10.0 rebounds and is being recruited by Sacramento State, Cal State Bakersfield and Cal Poly. Vernon, 6-6, 215 and only a sophomore, is averaging 13.6 points and 13.0 rebounds. Junior guard William Stallworth is the leading scorer (23.0) for a team that Memorial coach Pat Geil says would have gone 8-4 in the TRAC had it been a seventh member of the section's elite league. Tulare has tied a school record for wins, a mark first set by its 1974 section-winning team. The Redskins also won a section title in 1998.


No. 1 HOOVER (23-6) vs. No. 3 GOLDEN VALLEY (20-7)

When: Saturday, 4 p.m.

How they got here: Patriots won North Yosemite League at 10-0; defeated No. 16 Sanger 64-50, No. 9 Tehachapi 76-66, No. 5 Independence 59-57. Bulldogs placed second in South Yosemite League at 6-2; defeated No. 14 Dinuba 69-33, No. 11 Mira Monte 66-42, No. 7 Mission Oak 77-59.

Selland Specials: Hoover has advanced with balanced scoring, but senior captain Jesse Jimenez scored 20 points in the semifinals when the Patriots closed with a 20-7 fourth-quarter rally. Hoover has one section crown, in 1988. Golden Valley senior point guard Nick Williams scored 26 points against Mission Oak, improving his season average to 14.3


No. 1 CVC (27-2) vs. No. 3 WASHINGTON (23-7)

When: Saturday, noon

How they got here: Cavaliers won Central Sequoia League at 12-0; defeated No. 16 Orosi 71-30, No. 8 Caruthers 62-34, No. 4 Corcoran 83-58. Panthers won North Sequoia League at 10-0; defeated No. 14 Firebaugh 72-34, No. 11 Fowler 78-25, No. 2 Bakersfield Christian 74-55.

Selland Specials: Central Valley Christian beat Washington 65-58 Dec. 22 in the Holiday Invitational Tournament at Hoover as guard Lance Van Grouw scored 32 points and junior center Grant Verhoeven added 14. The pair helped power the Cavs to a 53-37 rout of Mission Prep for last year's D-V title. Since, CVC was bumped up a division while Washington was lowered from D-III. Verhoeven is averaging 23.2 points, 16.6 rebounds and 4.6 blocks. Panthers senior center Deandre Dickson, coming off a 25-point performance against BC, is averaging 15.0 points. Guard Sean Stell and forward Josh Williams played prominent roles on the school's D-IV championship team in football.


No. 1 FRESNO CHRISTIAN (10-17) vs. No. 3 TRANQUILLITY (7-19)

When: Today, 4 p.m.

How they got here: Eagles tied for fourth in the five-team West Sequoia League at 1-7; defeated No. 4 Kings Christian 57-34. Tigers went 1-7 in the West Sierra League; defeated No. 6 Clovis Christian by forfeit and No. 2 Laton 63-58.

Selland Specials: Fresno Christian junior Cooper Belmont scored 17 points in the semis and is averaging 18.6. Moises Ayala and Christian Garcia led Tranquillity's upset of Laton with 14 and 13 points.


No. 1 HANFORD (20-7) vs. No. 7 CLOVIS EAST (21-8)

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

How they got here: Bullpups won West Yosemite League at 12-0; defeated No. 9 Buchanan 85-36, No. 5 Edison 74-38. Timberwolves placed third in the TRAC at 6-4; defeated No. 10 Bakersfield 76-55, No. 2 Clovis West 69-64 (2 OT), No. 6 Stockdale 83-76.

Selland Specials: Hanford senior point guard Madison Parrish is 74-0 against section competition with three section titles – one in D-III; two in D-II – in her four-year career. Headed to Fresno State, she's the section career leader in assists with 878. She also has 1,578 points, 121 3-pointers, 359 rebounds and 496 steals. The Bullpups, whose full-court traps forced 80 turnovers against Buchanan and Edison, also have one of the section's premier frontline players in sophomore Bayli McClard. Clovis East, led by 6-foot senior Erikka Banks (22.3-point average) will have a size advantage. But so did the Bears and Tigers, who had trouble getting the ball past halfcourt.


No. 4 YOSEMITE (16-11) vs. No. 3 MONACHE (20-2)

When: Today, 6 p.m.

How they got here: Badgers tied for first in North Sequoia League at 9-1; defeated No. 5 Lemoore 63-42, No. 1 Garces 67-37. Marauders won East Yosemite League at 16-0; defeated No. 6 North 91-30, No. 2 Clovis North 76-66.

Selland Specials: Yosemite senior forward Sydnee Fipps is 85-33 with 2,143 points and 1,026 rebounds in a four-year career. She had 26 points in the semis. Monache is the anonymous dynasty waiting to happen in the section. The Marauders' top four players, featuring junior guard Jenae Alcantar, are underclassmen; their junior varsity went 18-0 and their freshmen 16-2. They won't be intimidated at Selland, having beaten the who's who of section basketball – Hanford, Clovis West, Clovis East, Clovis, Buchanan, Edison and Stockdale – in the summer.


No. 5 INDEPENDENCE (16-12) vs. No. 2 RIDGEVIEW (20-8)

When: Saturday, 2 p.m.

How they got here: Falcons tied for fourth in the Southwest Yosemite League at 3-7; defeated No. 12 Foothill 80-44, No. 4 Golden Valley 48-28, No. 1 Tulare 79-50. Wolf Pack tied for first in the South Yosemite League at 7-1; defeated No. 15 Arvin 66-37, No. 7 Hoover 64-52, No. 6 Shafter 52-34.

Selland Specials: Independence, with its first senior class, finished behind D-I members Centennial, Stockdale and Liberty in the SWYL. Falcons are led by senior guard Camille Wadlington (10.6). Ridgeview 6-2 sophomore Erica McCall (19.8 points, 16.0 rebounds, 8.4 blocks) is arguably the section's top college prospect.


No. 1 SIERRA (19-7) vs. No. 3 STRATHMORE (19-6)

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

How they got here: Chieftains tied for NSL title at 9-1; defeated No. 9 Washington 53-47, No. 4 Fresno Christian 58-36. Spartans won East Sequoia League at 8-0; defeated No. 6 Lindsay 58-44, No. 2 Memorial 47-36.

Selland Specials: Sierra senior guard Paige Brown, closing her career in style, scored 22 points against Fresno Christian. She's averaging 14.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 5.9 steals. Strathmore blitzed 20-game winner Memorial on the road behind the scoring of Eva Gutierrez (13), Maribel Bravo (11) and Nayeli Colunga (10).


No. 1 CVC (22-2) vs. No. 3 KINGS CHRISTIAN (16-7)

When: Today, 2 p.m.

How they got here: Cavaliers won Central Sequoia League at 12-0; defeated No. 4 Laton 76-32. Crusaders won East Sierra League at 7-1; defeated No. 2 Immanuel 53-51.

Selland Specials: Central Valley Christian, which has only lost out of league to D-I Hanford and D-III Hanford West, averages 65.5 points behind Kacie Van Hofwegen (16.8), Danielle Nederend (11.3), Ashley Vander Tuig (11.2) and Amy Weststeyn (10.5). Kings Christian junior point guard Victoria James torched Immanuel for 20 points in the semifinal upset.

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