High School Basketball

Long time coming: Clovis West girls win first state basketball title

State champs! Highlights as Clovis West beats Archbishop Mitty for girls basketball title

Clovis West beats Archibishop Mitty-San Jose 44-40 to win the CIF State Open Division championship Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
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Clovis West beats Archibishop Mitty-San Jose 44-40 to win the CIF State Open Division championship Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

Clovis West High coach Craig Campbell took a trip down memory lane after the Golden Eagles won their first state title in girls basketball Saturday night.

“Way back, when most of these kids were in fourth grade,” he said. “We knew this was a special class way back then.”

The most special 4 minutes of Sarah Bates’ four-year varsity career were most responsible for delivering Central Section history. Clovis West closed with a 14-3 rush to conquer Archbishop Mitty-San Jose 44-40 for the championship of the CIF State Open Division at Golden 1 Center.

We knew this was a special class way back then.

Clovis West coach Craig Campbell, referring to several of his players as fourth-graders

Clovis West, down 37-30 in the fourth quarter, received 11 consecutive points from Bates for a 41-37 lead with 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining.

Bates’ run opened with a layup and subsequent free throw after a deep pass from Danae Marquez and also included two 3-pointers.

All this from a UC Santa Barbara-bound senior guard who had scored one point entering the final quarter.

“I wasn’t on, scoring-wise or defensive-wise,” she said. “And I had to get my head into it.”

The 34-2 Eagles wouldn’t trail again, sealing it with two free throws by Marquez with 5.4 seconds to go.

No fear. Free throws are free – you can’t miss them.

Clovis West’s Danae Marquez, who made two game-clinching with 5.4 seconds left

“No fear,” said The Bee’s 2016 Player of the Year. “Free throws are free – you can’t miss them.”

Mitty (28-3), a six-time state champion that arrived shooting 53 percent as a team and with a 22-game winning streak, then fired up the last of 12 fourth-quarter misses in 13 attempts and Clovis West stormed the home court of the Sacramento Kings as an estimated 1,000 Eagles fans stood in euphoria.

Bates’ face, once a picture of frustration, found a stream of tears: “Honestly, it doesn’t feel real.”

3 state girls basketball champions from the Central Section, with Clovis West the first since Hanford won it all in Division II in 2001

Bates, Marquez, Bre’yanna Sanders and Megan Anderson closed four-year careers with a 117-15 record and four Central Section titles, the finest run in a 40-year program that has won a section-leading 846 games.

It was the first top-division state crown in girls basketball for the section.

Woodlake won D-III in 1985 and Hanford D-II in 2001 in state girls competition that began in 1981.

And it came against Mitty, which had been top-ranked in the state by Cal-Hi Sports wire-to-wire in a season that included a 76-75 overtime win over Clovis West for the title of the Nike Iolani Classic in Honolulu on Dec. 10.

0 Mitty field goals in final 5 minutes and 38 seconds

This time, the Monarchs folded in the fourth quarter, failing to make a field goal in the last 5:38 and turning the ball over three times within a minute when Bates and the Eagles took command on a night they shot 29.4 percent (15 of 51).

“Clovis West is a great defensive team,” said Mitty coach Sue Phillips, who’s 638-124 with 19 Central Coast Section championships in 24 years. “We started to press a little bit and didn’t play as loose as we did most of the year.”

Clovis West came in ranked No. 2 in the state. And both teams had national No. 1 billing – Clovis West by the USA Today Sports Computer Rankings and the Monarchs by the MaxPreps Computer Rankings.

“It validates hard work and what a special program Clovis West is,” said Campbell, 266-71 in 12 years with the Eagles. “When you combine talented gym rats with a great committed staff, all the way down to seventh grade, you have a chance to do something like this.

“I told the players three games ago, there’s nothing they could do to make me more proud of them; I had already maxed out on that. Winning a state championship was a special reward for a special group of girls who sacrificed so much to buy in.”

Undebatesable game MVP

The Bates Bash went like this:

▪ The three-point play at 5:37, cutting Mitty’s lead to 37-33 and swinging momentum that would not be reversed. “Huge,” said Campbell. “That took the lid off the basket.”

▪ A 3-pointer on an assist from Tess Amundsen for a team that had been 4 for 19 from beyond the arc to that point. Score: 37-36.

▪ A 3-pointer on an assist from Megan Anderson and Clovis West had the lead, 39-37, in a game it would only lead for 8:36.

▪ A layup on another deep pass from Marquez. Score: 41-37 at 1:30. “All of a sudden,” Campbell said he was thinking, “we’ve got this.”

They did, but only after turning the ball over on three consecutive possessions within 30 seconds of a chaotic final minute; seeing Mitty’s best player, Saint Mary’s signee Madeline Holland, miss a mid-range jumper; and the Eagles getting the ball via the possession arrow following a tie-up with 9 seconds remaining.

Then Marquez, at 5-feet-5 the smallest player on the court, was fouled and went to the line. It was at the arena’s north basket and, behind it, Clovis West students were in a roar.

“I turned to Sarah and said, ‘We do this 30 times every day in practice,’” Marquez said. “There was no reason to miss.”

Daunting schedule’s payoff

The Eagles’ nonleague schedule featured nine games against eight national-class teams that went a combined 219-28, including state titles by St. John’s-Washington D.C., Centennial-Las Vegas and Miami Country Day.

They beat St. John’s (75-58), Centennial-Las Vegas (57-42) and Miami Country Day (67-45), in addition to eight-time state champion St. Mary’s-Stockton (63-58) while winning the Tournament of Champions in Arizona.

When you combine talented gym rats with a great committed staff, all the way down to seventh grade, you have a chance to do something like this.

coach Craig Campbell of CIF State Open Division champ Clovis West

Clovis West later lost 70-46 to Centennial-Las Vegas, but the Eagles would not lose again, winning their last 19 straight, including a second victory over Long Beach Poly, 53-44, on March 18 for the title of the Southern California Open Division.

“We set the hardest schedule we could, trying to get ready for the Southern California playoffs,” Campbell said. “At no point did I expect us to have only two losses; I thought we would have six or seven, but we would be battle tested. And these kids just kept stepping up and stepping up.

“We were the ones who crashed the party.”

Andy Boogaard: 559-441-6400, @beepreps

Clovis West 44, Archbishop Mitty-San Jose 40

Clovis West

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Marquez

27

3-10

2-2

2

2

9

Bates

25

4-7

2-4

3

2

12

Campbell

25

1-8

0-0

4

1

3

Anderson

25

4-9

0-0

5

0

9

B. Sanders

26

2-8

0-0

6

1

4

Maldonado

8

0-2

0-0

0

0

0

Pulliam

3

0-0

0-0

1

0

0

Amundsen

21

1-7

4-6

6

3

7

Totals

160

15-51

8-12

29

9

44

Percentages: FG .294, FT .667. 3-pointers: 6-21, .286 (Marquez 1-3, Bates 2-4, Campbell 1-4, Anderson 1-3, B. Sanders 0-2, Amundsen 1-5). Team rebounds: 2. Blocks: 2 (Campbell, B. Sanders). Turnovers: 18 (Marquez 3, Bates 2, Campbell 3, Anderson 2, Sanders 2, Maldonado 2, Amundsen 3, Team). Steals: 10 (Bates 2, Campbell 4, B. Sanders 4). Assists: 10 (Marquez 2, Bates 2, Campbell 4, B. Sanders, Amundsen).

Mitty

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Hill

11

2-3

0-0

1

2

4

Holland

26

5-11

0-0

7

1

11

Garza

17

1-3

1-2

3

2

3

Jones

28

4-11

2-3

11

2

10

Ortiz

27

3-9

1-2

8

2

7

Miyahara

10

1-3

0-0

0

1

3

Blakes

17

1-2

0-0

1

1

2

Guglielmo

13

0-5

0-0

4

0

0

McNicholas

11

0-2

0-0

0

2

0

Totals

160

17-49

4-7

39

13

40

Percentages: FG .347, FT .571. 3-pointers: 2-14, .143 (Holland 1-1, Jones 0-2, Ortiz 0-3, Miyahara 1-3, Guglielmo 0-4, McNicholas 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocks: 4 (Holland, Jones, Blakes 2). Turnovers: 23 (Hill, Holland 2, Jones 10, Ortiz 6, Blakes, McNicholas 3). Steals: 8 (Hill, Jones, Ortiz 2, Miyahara, Guglielmo, Micholas 2). Assists: 8 (Jones 2, Ortiz 3, McNicholas 3).

Clovis West

15

9

6

14

44

Archbishop Mitty

9

18

8

5

40

Score tied: 3 times. Lead changes: 5.

Central Section girls basketball state champs

The three Central Section girls teams to have won CIF State basketball championships:

  • Woodlake, Division III, March 16, 1985, coach Marvin Welch, d. Justin/Siena-Napa 59-57 (OT) at Oakland Coliseum Arena
  • Hanford, Division II, March 16, 2001, coach Dwayne Tubbs, d. Amador Valley-Pleasanton 64-56 at ARCO Arena, Sacramento
  • Clovis West, Open Division, March 25, 2017, coach Craig Campbell, d. Archbishop Mitty-San Jose 44-40, at Golden 1 Center, Sacramento
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