Clovis West routes Clovis North for 7th straight Valley title

Number seven is heaven for the Clovis West girls basketball program.

The Golden Eagles, behind outstanding performances from sophomore Nikki Tom and senior Maddie Campbell, routed rival Clovis North 73-38, collecting their seventh straight D-I Central Section title in dominant fashion.

“We sure didn’t anticipate this at all, [Clovis North] are a tremendous team,” Clovis West coach Craig Campbell said about the game they led 69-27 after three quarters. “We have been preparing for three weeks and to see the kids put that into performance was tremendous.”

The win avenged a 40-36 loss at Clovis North on Feb. 4 that broke the Golden Eagles’ 68 game league winning streak.

The two teams tied atop the TRAC standings at 9-1 coming into the game.

“The spread was an extra bonus but just winning was the goal,” Campbell added. “The kids really bought into everything.”

After bolting to a 15-6 first quarter lead, the top-seeded Golden Eagles (29-3) went on an 18-0 run midway through the second quarter, turning a 24-18 margain into a 42-18 halftime lead the Broncos would never recover from.

Clovis West, ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 10 in the nation by MaxPreps, hit seven 3-pointers in the decisive second quarter including four by Tom, two by Campbell and one from Champney Pulliam.

“At the end of the day, Coach says if our game plan is going well you have freedom to let it fly and that’s just what we did,” Maddie Campbell said. “We were told ‘shooters shoot so go hunt tonight.’”

Tom scored 20 points of her 26 in the first half and Campbell scored 21 in a game that ended with a running clock in the fourth quarter.

“We were very upset we lost [to Clovis North] and we worked really hard in practice and used that as motivation,” Tom said. “So we came out today and performed.”

On a night second-seeded Clovis North struggled to score, Clovis West used its signature stifling defense and pinpoint execution to smother the state’s No. 10 team.

The Broncos (25-5) were led by junior Rowan Hein’s 13 points but were hampered when leading scorer Savannah Tucker appeared to injure herself in the second quarter, finishing with only five points.

Clovis West is certainly no stranger to success; in Campbell’s 14 years his teams have won nine Central Section titles, including the 2017 CIF Open Division championship, a year they finished No. 1 nationally.

For the casual observer, Clovis West’s march to Valley glory may look easy but each year is special, and this one certainly was with the father-daughter Campbell duo.

“You want every title so badly for the kids and each one is its own journey,” Coach Campbell said. “But this one with her, there was no way No. 23 was going to lose tonight.”

No. 23 is in reference to the number Maddie has worn her entire career, also the number of their favorite player Michael Jordan.

“It’s awesome and a privilege because not too many people get to do it,” said Maddie, the school’s all-time leader in three-pointers and points. “I’m going to miss him next year.”

Clovis West was awarded the No. 1 seed in the CIF SoCal Open Division and will take on No. 8 Redondo Union at home on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 7:00.

Clovis North is the No. 6 seed in the CIF SoCal Open Division and will travel to face No. 3 Sierra Canyon on Feb. 8.

Paul Meadors
Paul Meadors is a man of many talents. He is a elementary school teacher, Junior High athletic director, and basketball coach in Traver, CA, in addition to serving as the Sports Editor for the Clovis Roundup. He is also the author of the humorous book “Letters to eBay,” and he has recorded a piano album of his own compositions titled “Surviving the Storm.” He lives in Fresno with wife Lori and daughters Georgie, Alex and Ruthie.