Savannah Tucker: Offense or Defense, Tucker puts it all on the floor for her Broncos

Savannah Tucker was named TRAC Co-MVP and became Clovis North’s all-time leading scorer during her junior season. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TUCKER FAMILY

TRAC Co-MVP Savannah Tucker has a mindset that separates her from the rest.

When Tucker wants something; a bucket, a loose ball or a rebound, the Clovis North standout gets it.

But without her older sister Brianna Tucker’s influence, Savannah wouldn’t be the player she is today.

“My sister has suffered two ACL injuries and she’s had it rough, but she has always had that ‘I’m going to go get it mindset’ and I got that from her,” Savannah said.

Their relationship had its rocky moments as many teenage sisters have, but their unique bond around basketball was something else.

“When I was in high school and Savannah was about 13-years-old we bumped heads a lot and normally like girls at this age it was about clothes, but for me and Savannah it was about 6 a.m. workouts,” Brianna said. “So, whenever I went – which was every time – I’d force Savannah and she hated me for a while, but I didn’t care because I knew how good she would end up being.”

It turns out her big sister was right all along. Savannah has been starting on varsity since her freshman year, she’s captain and is Clovis North’s all-time points leader entering her senior season.

Savannah blew away the record in just her fourth game into her junior season. The record, set at 1,112, is now around 1,700 entering her final season.

The night she broke the record, she scored 27 points and on her 10th point of the night she etched her name into Clovis North history.

“I made a layup and coach Heather Long pulled me out and I was really confused, I wasn’t sure what was going on,” Savannah said. “She congratulated me on breaking the school all-time scoring record. At the time I didn’t really get it, I was more like are you going to put me back in.

“It meant a lot to me.”

All the work throughout the year in school, AAU and on her own paid off as she is considered to be one of the top two-way guards in California. Savannah was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State First for juniors, along with her TRAC honors.

On the court, Savannah isn’t like many players. She can get a shot anytime she wants behind her athleticism and skill on the court but working hard on defense is just as satisfying. Something her sister notices when her family attend her games.

“I think it’s my favorite part to watch about her, of course the blocks, but on their [Clovis North] 2-2-1 press, she has the ability to create plays by getting tips on passes that creates so many opportunities for herself and as well as her teammates.”x

It’s the little things for Savannah that make her successful and it’s something she continues to focus on.

“Coming down to the extra tip on the ball, maybe a deflection and an extra rebound. Being able to score and then being able to turn around and be that front of the press right away or guard their best player, it’s something a lot of players can’t do,” Savannah said. “It takes a drive to want to play both sides of the ball and it’s something I take pride in.”

Savannah, along with her backcourt partner Rowan Hein helped lead the Broncos to a 25-6 overall and 9-1 in the TRAC. Clovis North was also ranked 11th in the state and 57th in the nation for the 2018-19 season, according to MaxPreps.

The Broncos had many big wins, including the first girls’ basketball TRAC title in school history.

But, their 40-36 upset over Clovis West back in February, ending the Golden Eagles 68-game TRAC winning streak. For Savannah, it was great to see another program compete against Clovis West.

“Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to beat them. That was something I wanted to achieve in my high school career, they are an extremely well-oiled machine. It takes that extra effort to beat a team like that, being able to compete with Clovis West and Sierra Canyon and just giving them a game, makes me proud to be a part of that.”

The Broncos outscored the Golden Eagles 14-4 in the fourth quarter back in February and that moment was something Savannah will never forget.

“That game was something I had never experienced before and something I’m lucky to have experienced. There were so many little things that went into that win,” she said. “There were no breaks in that game, you would not let up because there could be a shooter left open. We had to be mentally strong.”

Clovis North’s steady rise to the top of the league is a trend that Long hopes continues with both Tucker and Hein returning for senior seasons.

“It’s fun to see how we are getting better every year and we are excited about our younger kids coming through and all the players we still have with us. We have the pieces to compete at this level,” Long said. “Something I’ve learned is having juniors and seniors that have been there is valuable because they can take the younger ones under their wing.”

Since Clovis North relatively new, they had to build a successful foundation and Long and her staff have done that throughout her time as the head coach.

That foundation is in part to the numerous players that have played for the Broncos over the years including Tucker. As one of the leaders on the team, there is pressure for her to perform every night for her team, but the senior relishes the challenge and accepts the burden.

“Even if I’m nervous, I can’t show that. I just always stay focused and I believe we can beat anyone, that’s my focus for my team and I,” Savannah said. “If I’m not having a good game, it makes it harder for my teammates, so I have to make sure I’m on top of my game.”

Tucker hopes to get over the hump this season and take the Valley Championship after two consecutive tries came up short. With a TRAC title in their trophy case, the Broncos proved they can compete with anyone and with Tucker leading the charge in her final season, the Broncos are destined to make some noise next season.

Nugesse Ghebrendrias
For the past three years, Nugesse has been a vital part of the Madera Tribune covering sports, news, entertainment and feature writing. Nugesse’s ability to interact with the community allows him to promote students, athletes and community members with fairness and objectivity. We are happy to have Nugesse join our team here at the Clovis Roundup.