Clovis West boys and girls sweep Clovis North to stay undefeated in league
The Clovis West girls and boys basketball teams improve to a perfect 6-0 in league, a combined record of 43-7 and a clear path to No. 1 playoff seeds.
FRESNO — Twice was nice for the Clovis West basketball programs.
Both the Golden Eagle teams beat Clovis North by double digits as the girls used a swarming defense in a 54-32 win while the boys shed first half foul trouble by star Cole Anderson, turning a 33-31 halftime deficit into a 77-61 victory behind Anderson’s 23 second half points.
The double header was in front of a packed and enthusiastic crowd at Clovis West as both squads moved to 6-0 in league, one step closer a league title and number one playoff seed.
In addition, before tipoff there was a touching tribute to Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed away along with his 13-year old basketball-loving daughter Gianna and 7 others just two days earlier. The scoreboard lit up with the numbers 24 and 8, Bryant’s numbers he wore with the Los Angeles Lakers. Also, numerous players throughout the night wrote inspirational messages on their shoes, including Bryant’s name and number.
“I love his mamba mentality,” Clovis West coach Craig Campbell said about Bryant’s mentality to destroy anything that tries to step in his way. “Some people use it a little too loosely but I totally relate to it. When he talked about competition it was tweaked to another level.”
Cal-Hi Sports No. 12 team certainly showed a toughness on the court in holding the Broncos (17-7, 3-3) scoreless in the second quarter.
Clovis North came in ranked No. 22 in the state.
And for the second time in league, the Golden Eagles (21-4, 6-0) were able to deny the ball and trap Clovis North senior Savannah Tucker, holding the school’s all-time leading scorer to 9 points on only one field goal.
“Our kids really stepped up defensively and applied the details from the scouting report,” Campbell said. “We really rebounded well and finished possessions.”
Clovis West raced to a 33-9 halftime lead behind junior guard Nikki Tom and strong defense from Kendall Jackson, Alexa Silva and Justyce Harris.
“Going into this game we knew what we had to do – we had to lock down on defense and stop Savannah from scoring and I think we did that,” Tom said. “We just had that intensity. We wanted this win really bad.”
Tom finished with 17 points.
In the boys’ nightcap Clovis West (22-3, 6-0) found themselves down 13-8 after one quarter and 33-31 at half as the Broncos’ 6-foot-5 junior AK Okereke (13 points) and 6-foot-7 senior Terri Miller (7 points and 6 rebounds) controlled the inside.
The Golden Eagles kept it close behind Max Phillips’ nine points in the second quarter, certainly much needed after Anderson, one of the top juniors in the state, picked up his second foul late in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the half.
The third quarter would be decisive for the reigning D-I Central Section champs, outscoring the Broncos 30-15 behind Anderson’s 17 points and three 3-pointers.
“He has some stretches where it’s bang bang,” Clovis West coach Vance Walberg said about the guard.
Anderson finished with 29 points.
Phillips finished with 13 points while 5-foot-4 Jarren Carr controlled the game with the ball in his hands, hitting all eight of his free throws in the fourth quarter en route to 14 points.
“Max is growing up in front of our eyes,” Walberg said. “His game is getting better and better … he does a lot of good things.”
The 6-0 league record certainly hasn’t come easy for the Golden Eagles – in the first meeting with the Broncos they overcame a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime in a 75-67 win and needed another overtime to beat Clovis East at home.
“With our team you never know what we are going to do, I never know,” Clovis West Vance Walberg said. “I just know we are going to play hard – if the ball goes in we are ok but if not we have to play harder.”
The boys will travel to Central on Friday, Jan. 31 while the girls will host the Grizzlies.