By Paul Meadors | Sports Editor
No way. No how. Not tonight. Not on our watch and certainly not this year.
After two straight years of losing in the semi-finals of the SoCal Open State Divisional Regional, the Clovis West girls made darn sure it wasn’t going to happen this time as the Hustling Eagles kept the pedal to the metal against a stunned Bishop’s-La Jolla and thrashed the Knights 73-31 in front of a raucous and standing room only gym.
Clovis West (32-2), Southern California’s number one seed will face No. 2 Long Beach Poly (the school who beat them in the semi-finals last year at home 53-44) on Saturday, March 18 at the Pyramid at Long Beach State at 4:00. The Golden Eagles beat Poly in overtime 70-67 in Hawaii on Dec. 9.
”It was tremendous,” said Clovis West coach Craig Campbell about the performance. “The kids rallied and believed in the game plan. We did what we needed to do at a high level.”
Talk about high level indeed, as the No. 1 nationally ranked team by USA Today Computer rankings bolted to a 9-0 lead, extended it to 34-17 by halftime and cruised to the overwhelming 42 point win behind the superior play of five exceptional seniors in Megan Anderson (21 points), Bre’yanna Sanders (14 points), Danae Marquez (10 steals), Sarah Bates (7 points, 8 assists) and Tess Amundsen (18 points).
And what about that 31-6 third quarter, eight minutes of pure basketball perfection, a blur of cardinal and gold that saw Anderson drain four three pointers and ended with Marquez sinking an off-balance 15-foot bank shot at the buzzer.
“I was focused but there was some luck,” Marquez said sheepishly.
“Playing our last home game was emotional, we knew we had to get it done and end with a bang. No way did we think we could have a running clock in an Open Division game of this caliber.”
Bishop’s of La Jolla came in with some pedigree as well, a 30-3 record and boasting the leading scorer in the history of California girls’ basketball in senior Destiny Littleton. The McDonald’s All-American came in averaging 43.6 points per game on the season but was held to just 14 and was clearly frustrated throughout the game.
“We have four different defenses to throw at her but we didn’t need them,” said Campbell. “To see our kids say ‘Hey we’re Clovis West’ and to perform at that level and against that level of a player is tremendous.”
The game also marked the final game for this group of seniors, and what a game to leave a legacy on from a group who went 40-0 in league with four consecutive Valley titles.
“It was definitely a great crowd and we fed off the energy,” said Bates who’s attending UCSB next year on scholarship. “We couldn’t have done it without the fans. We haven’t played this well in a while, everything just clicked.”