Make that another coronation for the Clovis West High girls basketball.
Achieved in blowout fashion again, even if Saturday was far from the Golden Eagles’ best performance of the year and the game started out close.
Nonetheless, top-seeded Clovis West turned a mere four-point lead after one quarter into a 54-22 beating of No. 2 Clovis to capture the Central Section Division I championship at Selland Arena and lock up the Golden Eagles’ fifth consecutive section crown.
“It means that from my eighth grade until now that tradition doesn’t graduate,” Clovis West senior center Bre’yanna Sanders. “No matter what Clovis West team takes the court, they’re going to grind out.
“That’s why we’re 5-0 here.”
The 6-foot Sanders – one of five seniors who received scholarship to play Division I college basketball – led the Eagles with 14 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
The senior group that’ll be moving on to college basketball of Sanders (Arizona State), Megan Anderson (San Jose State), Danae Marquez (San Jose State), Sarah Bates (UC Santa Barbara) and Tess Amundsen (Boise State) combined to score 36 points, grab 24 of the 34 rebounds and make 10 of the 15 assists.
The Eagles (30-2) also held the Cougars to 18.4 percent shooting, giving up just two points in the third quarter and just nine points in all after halftime.
“They took away the middle of the floor, where we were attacking, during the second half,” Clovis coach Greg Clark said. “We knew what’s coming. But they wear you down.”
Clovis West, ranked second in the state by Cal-Hi Sports as well a fifth in the nation by USA Today Sports’ Computer and Expert Rankings, now will chase after a state title while likely competing in the open division.
It’s the following achievements in the state playoffs that could determine whether this Clovis West team is the best team ever in Central Section history.
With one more win, the Eagles would tie the 2001 Hanford team’s section record mark of 31-2.
That Hanford team – which starred three Division I players in Shawntinice Polk (Arizona), Jenny Thigpin (Arizona State/Fresno State) and Amy Parrish (Fresno State) – won the state’s Division II championship.
“We respect what came before us,” Eagles coach Craig Campbell said. “We’re just worrying about being the best version of us.”
Clovis West and Clovis both move on to the CIF State Regionals next week.
All of the section’s boys and girls representatives – 28 in all – won’t know if they’ll play in the state’s North or South regions until Sunday’s seedings.