Clovis West Boys Outlast Bakersfield Christian in Overtime

In a brief departure from TRAC play, Clovis West was hoping for a brief departure from dramatic endings, having played two overtimes in their previous three games during league play. 

Yet the fifth quarter beckoned them again Monday evening – and once again, the Golden Eagles found a way to scratch out a win.

Max Phillips scored the go-ahead bucket with five seconds remaining in overtime to lead Clovis West to a 70-69 win over the Bakersfield Christian Eagles at the Fresno City MLK Classic. With the win, Clovis West improved their record to 19-3, the best in Division-I Central Section boys basketball. 

The way in which Clovis West won was extra meaningful for Phillips, who netted 18 points along with the game-winning score.

“Games like these show how everyone on the team can get buckets when we need them,” Phillips said. “Preston [Killbert] had a couple of big threes, Jarren [Carr] was going by people to get buckets and Ryas [Vang] made the shots he needed.”

Indeed, Clovis West proved Monday it has all-around talent besides highly-touted point guard Cole Anderson.

Bakersfield Christian made it a mission to limit Anderson early in the game. Facing double teams and constant pressure, Cole was held to five points in the first half.

Cole’s teammates picked up the slack to push the Golden Eagles to a 34-30 halftime lead. Killbert hit two three-pointers and Phillips scored in the paint often, on his way to eight points before halftime.

Clovis West extended its lead in the second half and an easy victory seemed inevitable late in the fourth quarter, as West led 60-52 with just over two minutes left in the game.

Yet Bakersfield Christian managed to put together a 10-2 run to close the game, forcing another overtime for Clovis West.

“It was frustrating [playing overtime], because we haven’t had too many leads lately and to give it up was disappointing,” coach Vance Wahlberg said. “But we played enough of these types of games where we know we can come through.”

Clovis West executed in the clutch once again, with Phillips scoring the final points on a turnaround jumper and junior guard Ryan Vang coming up with a steal on Bakersfield Christian’s last possession to seal the win.

Cole Anderson led the Golden Eagles with 21 points, Phillips had 18 and Killbert chipped in 11 off the bench in what was Clovis West’s third overtime win in four games.

Don’t expect the Golden Eagles to be tired from their recent stretch of overtime games. 

“Nope, it’s all mental,” Wahlberg said. “I ask my players, ‘Would you rather have practice or a game?’ and they’d rather have a game.”

If Clovis West keeps finding ways to win like this, nobody would want a game against them.

Gabriel Camarillo
Gabe Camarillo joins the Clovis Roundup staff as a first-year student at Fresno State, pursuing a major in Media, Communications and Journalism. Aside from his studies and work at the Roundup, Gabe provides play-by-play/color commentary for Fresno State softball, baseball, and various other sports on the Mountain West Network. Gabe brings his exciting, detailed style of writing to the Clovis Roundup sports section.