For Clovis West basketball star Maddie Campbell, one thing is certain: a scoring milestone is great, but her focus is even greater.
Campbell, the 5-foot-11 standout junior guard, scored her 1,000th career point in a 68-46 win over Buchanan on Jan. 17, helping the Golden Eagles improve to 19-3 on the season and 2-0 in league.
Clovis West is currently ranked No. 6 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and is the defending CIF State Open Division champions.
“A thousand points means a lot to me and I’m super grateful for my coaches, past teammates and current teammates,” Campbell said. “With that being said, I do feel it’s an accomplishment. But, I’m far from satisfied.”
In a rare off night and battling a high fever, Campbell, who averages close to 22 points per game, scored only 12 and didn’t hit a single three-pointer, a rarity for the sharpshooter who currently holds 17 Division I scholarship offers.
The milestone bucket was scored on a 5-foot floater in the lane in the first quarter.
It was evident Buchanan focused on shutting down Campbell, and it worked relatively well for first-year head coach Adam Wall.
“You try and not let the known beat you, you do the best you can,” said Wall, who starred at Central High School then Fresno City College in the early 2000s before coaching in the college ranks for the past 12 years. “She’s a heck of a player. She can really shoot it and is a really heady player.”
After Clovis West jumped out to a 20-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 36-21 lead at halftime, the Bears (10-7) would only be down 12 points early in the fourth quarter before Campbell put the game out of reach with two driving layups midway through the fourth quarter, the final one coming with 3:47 left in the game to make the score 64-41.
This Buchanan Bears team is different from years past under Wall – they hit 13 three-pointers in their 61-60 loss to Clovis on Jan. 12. With this in mind, the game was never out of reach for the Bears, who were led by Anaya Sperling’s 12 points.
Anaya Sperling led Buchanan with 12 points.
“We were flat and couldn’t sustain any runs,” said Clovis West head coach Craig Campbell and Maddie’s father, who is 285-74 in 13 years with the Eagles, including 12 straight league titles and eight Valley titles. “It was one step forward and three steps back all night. Buchanan played with great energy and we didn’t maintain the level of effort and focus that we need to be successful.”
For the Campbells, the fire and passion to strive for the best is clearly evident; a true like father, like daughter relationship.
“I was very off and in my head too much,” Maddie said. “We didn’t play great as a team and Buchanan just stuck to their game plan.”
Campbell has taken over the leadership role on a team that graduated six seniors last season, including five who are currently playing Division I basketball.
There are five freshman on this year’s roster, including freshman Nikki Tom who lead the team with 17 points in the Buchanan win. The nucleus of the team is centered around three juniors in Campbell, Champney Pulliam and Aari Sanders.
“My leadership role is much bigger than it was last year in a great way,” Campbell said. “I’ve had to handle some situations differently than I would’ve last year; settle everyone down and be the glue, and most of all I’ve had to be a mentor to the young ones.”
However tough the father-daughter duo can be on themselves, dad recognizes the importance of the accomplishment.
“Just all the hard work she’s put into her game and to put her up there with the prestigious group of CW stars that are in the 1,000 point club,” Campbell said when asked about his daughter’s milestone. “To do it as a junior really speaks volumes about her abilities and work ethic.”
Clovis West faces Clovis North (18-2, 2-0, ranked No. 5 in state) in a highly anticipated matchup on Jan. 24 at the Stables Center.