High School Sports

Central Section basketball finals: Central conquers Clovis North for first D-I boys title

Watch highlights of all 10 2016 Central Section basketball finals

CIF Central Section's basketball finals featured 10 championship games at Selland Arena in Fresno on Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, 2016. Here are sights and sounds from every game.
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CIF Central Section's basketball finals featured 10 championship games at Selland Arena in Fresno on Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, 2016. Here are sights and sounds from every game.

There would be no Clovis North High miracle comeback this time.

Not on a neutral court in downtown Fresno.

Not on a historical night for Central.

And, by golly, not against the will of Jaylon Johnson.

The junior point guard attacked the Broncos wire to wire, didn’t blink on the bright stage and powered the Grizzlies to a 77-64 crushing of top-seeded Clovis North for the Central Section Division I boys title before 6,000 fans at Selland Arena on Saturday night.

“I just tried to play like it was a regular game, stay poised and not make it bigger than what it is,” Johnson said after facilitating the pace of a game in which second-seeded and 22-6 Central bolted to a 6-0 lead and never trailed while securing the first top-division championship in program history.

“Jaylon played awesome,” Clovis North coach Tony Amundsen said of a strong, fast and aggressive player who delivered 11 points, eight assists, two steals and two blocks.

Johnson made 7 of 9 free throws, and what an apology after missing three consecutive free throws in the final minute of regulation three weeks ago at Clovis North, which rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 76-75 overtime win in the Tri-River Athletic Conference.

Make just one of those and it’s not only a Grizzlies win, but an outright league title and No. 1 seed.

Consequently, Central and Clovis shared the TRAC crown. And it would be Clovis North, Central and Clovis East with the Nos. 1-2-3 seeds.

No matter.

It’s been neutral court for the finalists anyway since the two-day, 10-division section finals shifted permanently from host sites to Selland in 2005.

And it was here on Ventura Street that the Grizzlies overwhelmed the Broncos (20-9) with athletic ability, depth and the direction of Greg Streets, a former Edison standout player and the third coach in as many years for Central.

“I was trying to stay calm throughout this experience,” he said, “but I was nervous the entire time, I’m not going to lie.”

If he showed nerves, his players did not.

Never, not from the opening moments when Eddie McFall, Chris Lee and Cash Williams drives gave the Grizzlies a 6-0 lead.

They built the margin to 20 points late in the third quarter and had it reduced to six with 2 minutes and 30 seconds remaining before closing with a 15-7 run.

Simply, Central had too much firepower.

▪ Chris Seeley, a 6-foot-8 senior, had 17 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks. He had four dunks in the first half, including three from Johnson penetration feeds that thrust the shoulder-to-shoulder Grizzlies student body to its feet in the arena’s south end zone.

▪ Sophomore guard Williams scored 17 points, including 9-of-10 left-handed free throws.

▪ And then there was yet another sophomore guard, Cam’Ron Wilson, who belied his first-year varsity experience by making 5 of 8 three-pointers in a 25-point night.

“No pressure at all,” Wilson said. “No need for pressure.”

Jahvon Johnson scored 24 points for Clovis North.

Both teams will begin the Southern California Regionals on Wednesday, with Central hitting the road as a No. 11 seed to face No. 6 Alemany (Mission Hills). Clovis North was seeded No. 15 and travels to face No. 2 Redondo Union.

Clovis North hacked the deficit to 18-17 midway through the second quarter on Elijah Straughter’s jumper in the key and Jahvon Johnson’s three-pointer from the left elbow.

But Central responded with a halftime-closing 13-3 run to resume command.

It was formed by a Williams drive and two left-handed free throws, consecutive three-pointers by Wilson and a Jaylon Johnson free throw.

Seeley, a defensive problem for the Broncos sans a true center, had 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in the first half.

But, again, his best friend was Jaylon Johnson, who already had seven assists at that point.

Andy Boogaard: 559-441-6400, @beepreps

No. 2 Central 77, No. 1 Clovis North 64

Central

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Seeley

31

8-14

1-3

7-19

1

2

17

Lee

15

2-2

0-0

3-4

1

2

5

Williams

31

4-5

9-10

1-4

2

4

17

Wilson

29

7-16

6-7

1-5

0

0

25

Johnson

24

2-7

7-9

0-4

8

4

11

Laney

15

0-2

0-0

0-2

3

1

0

Bishop

1

0-1

0-0

0-1

0

0

0

McFall

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Boyd

0+

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Garner

0+

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Gonzalez

0+

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Lee Jr.

13

1-5

0-0

0-0

0

1

2

Totals

160

24-52

23-29

13-42

15

14

77

Percentages: FG .462. FT .793. 3-Point Goals: 6-11, .545 (Lee 1-1, Wilson 5-8, Lee Jr. 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 6 (Seeley 4, Johnson 2). Turnovers: 14 (Seeley 2, Williams 6, Wilson, Laney 3, Lee Jr. 2). Steals: 5 (Seeley, Williams 2, Johnson 2).

Clovis North

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Avera

19

6-10

0-1

0-2

1

3

13

Reyes

19

1-3

0-0

0-2

2

5

3

Johnson

26

8-13

3-4

0-3

5

5

24

Brown

20

0-6

0-0

0-3

1

5

0

Straughter

28

7-13

0-2

1-4

2

1

14

Seals-Briones

8

0-1

0-0

0-0

1

1

0

Fugman

10

1-2

0-0

1-2

0

5

2

M.Brar

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Williams

17

2-2

1-1

0-2

0

0

5

Jaeckel

4

0-1

0-0

0-1

0

1

0

Landseadal

0+

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

A.Brar

8

1-3

0-2

0-0

0

0

3

Totals

160

26-55

4-10

4-22

12

26

64

Percentages: FG .473, FT .400. 3-Point Goals: 8-17, .471 (Avera 1-3, Reyes 1-2, Johnson 5-6, Brown 0-2, Fugman 0-1, A.Brar 1-3). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 3 (Avera, Straughter 2). Turnovers: 12 (Avera 2, Johnson 5, Brown 2, Straugher 2, Williams). Steals: 8 (Avera, Reyes 2, Johnson 2, Straughter 2, A.Brar).

Central

15

16

24

22

77

Clovis North

8

14

18

24

64

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