By Paul Meadors | Sports Editor
They did it again.
The Clovis West girls, behind their remarkable senior class, run and gunned their way to a 10-0 record in the Tri-River Athletic Conference, their fifth straight year of league perfection.
In fact, they’ve won 56 league games in a row, 12 straight league titles and posted a 117-3 record in those years.
However, their mind is focused on this: Three. More. Wins.
That’s what it’ll take for the Clovis West girls basketball team to make their mark in Central Section history, and a fifth straight Valley title as the March to Selland begins.
“You’ve won 27 games this year and three more in a row and you’re Valley champs,” said head coach Craig Campbell who was recently nominated and a Top 5 candidate for the Naismith Trophy Girls High School Coach of the Year. “Through all the airports and road trips and all they’ve gone through it’s three more.”
There’s little doubt it’s been a magical season for the Golden Eagles, starting with the Iolani Classic in Hawaii to winning the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona to multiple showcase games including three straight Saturday games after a Friday league game. They’ve played an elite schedule, and they’re battle tested for sure with a 27-2 record.
Oh yeah, and they’re ranked No. 2 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 5 in the nation by USA Today, espnW and MaxPreps.
However, it don’t mean a thing if you don’t have that ring.
“We are going into the playoffs more focused than ever,” said senior point guard Danae Marquez. “This is the season we can’t wait to play in and compete at in the highest level.”
The Clovis West girls program is rich in tradition from Adrian Williams to Brianna Orlich to Emily Anderson, and each team understands their sense of legacy.
Marquez and fellow seniors Megan Anderson and Sarah Bates not only were a perfect 40-0 in league in their four years on varsity (they outscored league opponents by an average score of 78-34 this season) but are attempting to win four Valley titles in four years. Senior Liz Parker is gunning for her third title on varsity and senior Tess Amundsen her first since transferring from Clovis North and sitting out all last season.
“The advantage is experience, they’ve been there before,” said Campbell who has orchestrated 12 straight league titles and seven Valley titles since arriving from Reno. “We are seeing the leadership cranking up. They are starting to hold each other accountable and everybody is jumping on board with that.”
One game at a time for sure, and for Clovis West they’re mentally and physically ready for the final stretch of the season.
“If we have to push and motivate then something’s wrong, but I’m seeing a team that anytime we’ve really got on them and pushed them they’ve responded,” said Campbell, whose sophomore daughter Maddie starts with Marquez, Bates, Anderson and senior Bre’yanna Sanders. “It shows deep down how important it is to them.”
The two teams that make the Valley title game are automatic qualifiers for the state tournament, and placed in six divisions. Barring a monumental upset in the Section tournament, Clovis West will be placed in the Open Division for the state playoffs, the highest division regardless of school size, and that includes the private schools.
“We are locked in because we owe it to ourselves and each other to give nothing less than our all,” Marquez said. “This is the season we train for all year around.”
FINAL TRAC GIRLS BASKETBALL STANDINGS
Clovis West 10-0
Clovis North 6-4
Clovis East 0-10