A pair of incredible streaks continued and one school record was broken, all thanks to a remarkable second half for Clovis West and a dominating performance by an outstanding player.
Down 24-23 at halftime at home to rival Clovis North, Clovis West outscored the Broncos 22-1 in the third quarter before cruising to a 68-41 win behind Maddie Campbell’s 27 points, 12 in the third quarter, securing the Golden Eagles’ 13th straight league title and extending their league winning streak to 59.
And, in the process, Campbell broke the school’s single season scoring record of 606 by Paige Bowie in 1997, finishing the night with 623 with one game left before the playoffs.
“When we got down eight [early in the second quarter], you saw the switch turn on and she got a couple of shots to go down,” said Clovis West coach Craig Campbell, Maddie’s father. “In the second half she took the game over.”
The 5-foot-11 junior sure did just that and more as Campbell came out firing to start the third quarter with a three-pointer (she also broke the school single season three-point record on Jan. 17) and a driving layup and foul with 6:36 left in the quarter for a 28-24 lead they would never relinquish.
She would finish with 17 points in the second half to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and four steals in the game. She also connected on 12-of-14 free throws and three 3-pointers as the primary ball handler on the team.
“She’s doing so many things team-wise and is such a team player,” Craig Campbell said. “People always think scoring is such an individual thing but she has great teammates around her.”
Clovis West (26-3, 9-0) held Clovis North (23-4, 7-2) without a field goal and 0-11 from the floor during the decisive third quarter, their only point coming on a free throw from sophomore guard Savannah Tucker (10 points in the game) with 1:45 left.
The Broncos finally hit their first field goal in the second half with 7:29 in the fourth quarter when senior Jordyn Brown (team leading 12 points) hit a 3-pointer, cutting the lead to 47-28, an insurmountable lead against the defending CIF Open Division state champs.
“We just buckled down on defense and it turned to offense,” Maddie Campbell said. “It was like a ladder effect. It was a good feeling.”
It was the second meeting of the top two teams in the section and Cal-Hi Sports No. 5 and 6 ranked teams. On Jan. 24, Clovis West beat the Broncos 63-54.
“They attacked us well in the first half and we had a lot breakdowns,” said Craig Campbell, who came from Reno, Nevada 13 years ago and has orchestrated eight D-I Central Section championships including five in a row. “Part of that is due to them and we give them credit. Offensively, I thought we had some good looks but we weren’t hitting. [In] the second half we definitely settled down.”
For Clovis West, freshman Nikki Tom scored 11, junior Aari’yanna Sanders recorded 10 and junior Champney Pulliam posted nine on the stat sheet.
Much has been asked of Campbell after last year’s magical season that saw the Golden Eagles finish 34-2, a No. 1 national ranking by three major publication and the school’s first state championship that featured five seniors who are currently playing Division I college basketball.
In short, she’s taken her game to another level with a young crop of players.
“She’s had a great year but she’s gotten those younger kids and the returners to all jump on board with her,” Coach Campbell said. “She’s really helped bring this team along. All these records is a part of these kids figuring it out and stepping into their roles.”
Maddie sees how the team growth has shown on the court as well.
“It’s the chemistry we have now, it wasn’t there in November,” she said. “I’m not trying to break records, I’m just playing my game.”
The win locked up the No. 1 Central Section playoff seed for the Golden Eagles. The playoffs begin Feb. 21 and the finals will be held March 3 at Selland Arena.