Clovis West High girls basketball coach Craig Campbell went for the win Tuesday night and it paid off as Champney Pulliam nailed a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining in the No. 2-seed Golden Eagles’ 46-45 victory over No. 3 Harvard-Westlake-Studio City in a CIF Southern California Open Division regional semifinal.
“We wanted to run a 3 for Champ in the corner,” Campbell said. “She got it and sidestepped a girl and I was right behind her when she released it and I said, ‘Oh my God! It’s in.’ We counted on her and believed in her.”
Pulliam was calm and collected when she got the shot off. No pressure, she said.
“I wasn’t thinking about anything,” said Pulliam, who finished with six points (two 3-pointers). “It’s like what my coach told me before, ‘Don’t focus on anything else and you’re going to knock the shot down.’ It was just another shot and it just meant a lot more than usual.”
The defending state champions advanced to play top-seed Windward-Los Angeles in the regional final on Saturday. That game is set for 4 p.m. at the Pyramid on the Long Beach State campus.
Two more Central Section teams, Clovis and Sierra Pacific, also advanced to regional finals.
No. 7 Clovis won a second straight road game, beating Christian Brothers-Sacramento 47-45 in NorCal Division III. The Cougars (22-12) play at No. 5 West Campus-Sacramento on Saturday at 6 p.m. West Campus was the state D-V champion last year.
Clovis’ run through the regionals comes after it was eliminated by rival Clovis West 62-26 in the Central Section D-I semifinals. The Cougars’ season included tournaments in Southern California, Sacramento, Santa Maria and Arizona.
Top-seed Sierra Pacific dispatched Grace Brethren-Simi Valley 56-41 to advance in SoCal D-V. The Golden Bears (30-5) face No. 2 Hueneme-Oxnard at 6 p.m. Saturday in the gym on the north Hanford school’s campus. Last season, Sierra Pacific reached the same step as a No. 7 seed before falling.
Also Tuesday, No. 4 San Joaquin Memorial fell to top-seed Woodside Priory-Portola Valley 55-35 in NorCal D-IV, and No. 5 Mission Oak lost to No. 9 Mater Dei Catholic-Chula Vista 71-50 in SoCal D-III.