Clovis West girls beat Clovis North for 8th straight Central Section title
Clovis West continues its reign on Central Section competition with Open Division championship, holding Clovis North to 13.6% first half shooting.
The Clovis West girls program can add another ring to the collection.
Line ‘em on the table, that’s eight straight to be exact.
With stout defense and red hot shooting the Golden Eagles raced out to a 37-13 halftime lead and held on for a 60-49 win over Clovis North in the Central Section’s inaugural Open Division title game, improving to 27-4 on the season.
Junior guard Nikki Tom led with 16 points while classmate Kendall Jackson scored 10 and senior Aaliyah Seuell 10, all in the first half.
“It’s special – this is the first Open Division and something they can hang their hat on,” said Clovis West coach Craig Campbell, the architect of all eight titles. “To be the No. 1 seed and go out and win it is pretty special.”
With a relatively new bunch this year – 2019 graduated the winningest class in Section history with stars Maddie Campbell, Champney Pulliam and Aari Sanders – the Golden Eagles smothered the Broncos in the first half, holding them to only three field goals on 22 shot attempts including 1-8 from behind the arc.
Not only was it the third time the teams matched up this season – Clovis West winning both – but it was the third straight time they’ve met in the Central Section title game.
“Clovis North played hard and have talented kids who have had a lot of success,” Campbell said. “To see our kids grow from October to now is really special.”
Clovis West came into the game ranked No. 13 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and Clovis North No. 23.
The Golden Eagles concentrated on slowing down the senior duo of Savannah Tucker and Rowan Hein, both four-years starters. Tucker recently became Clovis Unified’s all-time leading scorer.
“Our game plan was to stop Tucker and Hein so we did that the first half,” Tom said.
The game plan worked to a T for Clovis West in the first half. However, the Broncos showed some fight in the second half when Tucker, a Long Beach State signee, scored 18 of her 23 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to cut the lead to 46-29.
The Broncos (22-8) would get as close to 11 with 2:12 left but Clovis West converted 11-13 free throws in the fourth quarter to secure the title.
“I’m really proud of my team and all the work we put in paid off,” Seuell said. “We expected them to fight and that’s kinda what we like … that’s what we’re built for.”
Clovis North’s six-foot junior Laney Amundsen scored 11 points with 10 rebounds and Hein added 12. Clovis West juniors Alyssa Kuniyoshi scored 8 with 3 steals and Justyce Harris added six pints and six rebounds.
“To see them make a run and seperate themselves from the Valley is really special to see their growth,” Campbell added. “Big picture is the Valley championship and that’s what they’ll remember.”
Clovis West is expected to receive either the No. 2 or 3 seed in the NorCal Open Division. The Broncos could also be placed in the Open or Division I.