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Clovis West clinches league title on Senior Night with win over Buchanan

Junior Cole Anderson torches the Bears with 27 points in three quarters as Golden Eagles move to 24-4 and 8-1 in the TRAC in 62-47 win.

Seniors Max Phillips and Jaylen Guidry were all smiles after their 62-47 win over Buchanan on Senior Night as the team signed posters for future Golden Eagles.

FRESNO — Clovis West needed a bit of a reset after suffering its first league loss at the hands of Clovis East on Feb. 4, a 63-60 setback.

Some may call that loss a good loss, if there is such a thing.  

However, the Vance Walberg coached squad made sure they righted the ship against Buchanan as the hustlin’ Eagles took care of business on Senior Night, clinching at least a tie for a league title with a 62-47 home win against Buchanan behind junior Cole Anderson’s seven 3-pointers and 27 total points. 

“We for sure came out with more fire,” said Anderson, who scored all his points in the first three quarters. “After the loss we locked our minds on league … we didn’t want to share it.”

With one game remaining Clovis West (24-4, 8-1) is a game ahead of Clovis North (20-7, 7-2), who needed a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation from Malachi Henry on their way to a 82-73 OT win at Central. 

And with a win at Clovis (10-17, 0-9) on Wednesday the defending D-I champs will most likely be the No. 1 seed in the CIF Central Section Open Division playoffs. The Broncos will play at Buchanan.

2020 will be the first season the Central Section will have an Open Division; the top four teams regardless of school size or previous division placement. 

But first, the Golden Eagles needed to get past the defensive-minded Bears (15-13, 5-4) under first-year coach Brooks Malm, a team allowing an average of 43 points in three straight wins coming in.  

But Anderson, who holds 19 college offers and won TRAC MVP honors the last two years, asserted himself early by scoring 11 points in the first quarter including three of his signature 3-pointers for a 13-11 lead. 

In the second, Clovis West tightened their grip on the Bears, holding them to two field goals – a 3-pointer from Charlie Barnes and a basket from Mason Marini – while senior Max Phillips pumped in six points helping the lead balloon to 33-18 at half. 

“The game plan was to pressure their guards to get them irritated and to get in their heads,” senior Jarren Carr said. “We executed that very well.” 

In the third, Anderson put on a show, hitting four threes and two free throws for 14 points as they outscored the Bears 21-15. 

Senior Jaylen Guidry got on the board with a 3-pointer from the right corner in the fourth quarter as the Golden Eagles cruised to the win.

After the game the team signed posters for kids, most of them involved in the Little Hoopsters program.

For senior Jarren Carr, the moment was extra special on Senior Night.

“It’s something you always look forward to like as a little kid and for it to actually happen it’s surreal,” said Carr, who scored 10 points and made a steal and layup late in the game that elicited oohs and ahhs from the crowd. 

Buchanan senior Kendall Oliver led the Bears with 12 points. The Bears will travel to Clovis North to finish up league on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Clovis West can wrap up a third straight league title at Clovis.

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