Clovis West rallies to beat Clovis North in OT behind Anderson’s big night
Clovis West comes from down 11 points in fourth quarter to beat Clovis North 75-67 in overtime as Cole Anderson scores all ten points in overtime.
Clovis West coach Vance Walberg calls him a “very special player.”
Opposing coaches shake their heads with a what-can-we-do look.
And in the biggest basketball rivalry game in the TRAC, and when his team needed him the most, Cole Anderson answered the call with help from teammates Jarren Carr and Max Phillips.
Anderson scored all 10 of his team’s points in overtime and Phillips’ converted a twisting layup with 28 seconds remaining to tie the game at 65, lifting the Golden Eagles to a wild 75-67 come-from-behind victory in front of a packed and wild Stables Center at Clovis North to improve to 16-3 overall and 1-0 in league.
Carr, a 5-foot-4 dynamo, scored 11 points in the third quarter including a perfect 3-3 from behind the 3-point line.
“When Clovis West plays Clovis North it’s always going to be extra – two great teams that play hard all the time,” Walberg said, his voice still hoarse after the game. “It’s a great rivalry.”
Last year Clovis North’s Sammy Al-Saber hit a buzzer-beating three, stunning the Golden Eagles in their first meeting. Then in the D-I semifinals, Clovis West erased a 14 halftime deficit to win in OT at home on their way to a CIF D-I Central Section title.
And on Dec. 14, the Broncos stunned the Golden Eagles when Terri Miller made a layup at the buzzer to win the Clovis West Nike Showdown, a celebration that spilled onto the court and into the Clovis North student section.
“We were all pumped up before the game,” Carr said about the rematch. “We told ourselves ‘we can’t let it happen twice in a row.’”
Down 11 with 4:44 left, Clovis West rallied behind a series of drives by Phillips, punctuated by his clutch shot to send the game to overtime.
Then the 6-foot-4 Anderson took over. His two driving layups, 18-foot jump shot and four straight free throws doomed the Broncos in the extra period.
“Going into overtime I knew I had to have the ball,” said Anderson, a junior who holds nine D-I scholarships. “I was just happy my teammates were able to find me and coach drew up good plays for us.”
Things were looking bleak early for Clovis West as the Broncos (12-6, 0-1) raced to a 24-8 first quarter lead behind Malachi Henry’s 10 points.
Clovis West had trouble handling the impressive frontcourt of Clovis North’s 6-foot-7 Miller and 6-foot-5 AK Okereke. The Broncos out-rebounded Clovis West 22-6 in the first half.
“Their size kicked our butts,” Walberg added.
But Preston Kilbert’s three from the corner with 30 seconds left cut the lead to 30-25 heading into half before the Broncos extended its lead to 54-45 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter Clovis West whittled away the Broncos’ lead behind Phillips and eventually tied the game at 63 on Kilbert’s steal and layup with 54 seconds remaining. On the ensuing inbounds pass Al-Saber quickly found David Opoku-Ababio for an alley-oop layup before Phillps’ game-tying shot.
Anderson then rebounded a Clovis North miss, and after a timeout with 3.5 seconds remaining, Clovis West had two shots within four feet to win the game but both shots fell short.
Phillips scored 13 points with 6 rebounds for Clovis West and Kilbert chipped in with 11 and drew two charges. The Golden Eagles forced 21 Clovis North turnovers.
Anderson finished with 27 points, one below his season average, in a clutch performance that Walberg has come to expect.
“We expect that from Cole … we need him to step up when he’s supposed to,” Walberg said. “I thought he did a good job.”
For Clovis North, Henry led the team with 17 points while Okereke collected 10 rebounds with only four points, 11 below his average. Miller finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Clovis West now turns its attention to two home games next week as they host Central on Jan. 14 and Clovis East on Jan. 17. Clovis North takes on Clovis East at home then travels to Clovis.