The Winter Sports Season Championship Ending

(Photo from Clovis West High School Website)
2023-2024 Girls Basketball Team

By Jess Gonzalez

February 13, 2024 – The much too frequent rain, hand-numbing cold, and short days that get progressively longer indicate the end is near for the scholastic winter sports calendar.

It’s time for the top teams and individuals of the winter sports seasons to do battle to see who can claim supremacy in their sport in our Central Valley.

In the next two weeks section championship trophies will be awarded to the area’s top teams of the 2023-2024 winter sports. State championships for the top teams in the state will be presented in the two weeks that follow.

Central Section Basketball Finals

The highly attended, always exciting and very entertaining Central Section Boys and Girls Basketball Section Finals will be held Friday and Saturday, February 23rd and 24th, at Fresno’s Selland Arena where the two teams that survive the playoffs, in each of the six divisions, will face-off for their division championship.

One day after this edition of the Clovis Roundup goes to print, the girls will commence playoff action with the boys to follow a day later.

A total of 24 teams will play in the two-day basketball extravaganza. Six games are played each day.

That’s a championship game every two hours. Three teams in the boy’s divisions and three in the girl’s divisions will be crowned Valley Champions on Friday.

An additional three in the boys and three in the girls will be crowned on Saturday. That’s two days of constant hoops and dribbling. That’s a true basketball junkie’s dream come true!

The teams vying for the crowns in the top two divisions will play in the last two games of each day.

Girls at six PM and Boys at 8 PM. Whereas all schools playing are supported by their fan base, the most frequented games are in the top two divisions when the arena almost fills to capacity.

Division one girls

While it is the known as the Section Divisional Championship, the girl’s division one game can easily be called the Clovis West Girls Show.

Clovis West girls have won 11 straight Central Section Division 1 basketball championships. And, overwhelmingly, they’ve accomplished it with blowout scores.

Additionally, the Lady Eagles has won 19 straight Tri-River Athletic Conference titles. Let’s also not forget that in 2017, Clovis West was state champion.

As the top ranked girls’ team in the valley, they are again favored to go home with the top trophy on Saturday night.

The following are the top ranked girls’ basketball teams in the Central Section going into the playoffs.

As of February 6, 2024, by High School FN

  1. Clovis West 25-2
  2. St. Joseph’s Santa Maria 20-5
  3. Buchanan   17-10
  4. Clovis   16-11
  5. Central   16-10
  6. Tehachapi     22-2
  7. Monache   22-2
  8. Caruthers   17-7
  9. San Joaquin Memorial   15-6
  10. Bullard   19-7

Division one boys

The division one boy’s title is much more competitive than the girls. While Clovis West Boys teams also won numerous valley titles, various other schools have also had their time in the spotlight by winning the top boy’s trophy in the section finals.

Among them others, Bullard, Central, as well as last year’s winner, St. Joseph’s of Santa Maria come to mind.

The boy’s initial round of the playoffs got underway last night. However, having gone to print earlier in the week, we do not have those results at this time.

St. Joseph’s of Santa Maria, division one winner over Clovis West last year, is the top ranked team in the Central Section followed by Clovis North and Clovis West.

Only time will tell if either of the two Clovis schools can topple the highly rated team from the coast. Clovis North and Clovis West finished their play in TRAC play with each defeating their rival on their own court.

While all three of the teams qualified for the playoffs, only two of the three will reach the Section Finals at Selland on February 24th.

Santa Maria, a Catholic High School, is said to be even stronger than last year’s team due to having recruited some talented new players to add to its roster. The division 1 boys championship game promises to be exciting and highly entertaining.

The following are the top ten boys ranked teams as of Feb. 7, 2024

  1. St. Joseph’s Santa Maria   24-2
  2. Clovis North 22-5
  3. Clovis West 22-5
  4. Centennial Bakersfield 24-6
  5. Bullard   20-7
  6. San Joaquin Memorial   17-9
  7. Buchanan   19-6
  8. Bakersfield Christian   16-10
  9. Clovis East   15-10
  10. Dinuba   21-3

Boys Soccer

The Clovis North Boys Soccer team is the top ranked team in the valley at season’s end. It’s also  the 20th ranked team in the state of California. The Broncos will be out to avenge their defeat in last year’s playoffs when, though they were the favorites, were upset and did not take home the top trophy.

The Central Section’s Top Ranked Boys soccer teams

  1. Clovis North 16-1-4
  2. San Luis Obispo   14-3
  3. Fresno   17-4-1
  4. Reedley   15-4-3
  5. Sanger   13-5-3
  6. McLane   14-5-4
  7. Clovis   18-5-3
  8. Ridgeview (Bak.)   17-4-1
  9. Buchanan   15-5-2
  10. Santa Maria   12-2-7

Girls Soccer

The Girls soccer playoffs have the top four teams earning a bye in the first round of action. These four teams: 1. Liberty of Bakersfield, 2. Garces Memorial of Bakersfield, 3. Clovis North, and 4. San Luis Obispo.   Other Clovis schools’ teams will be in action in the first round. They include: 12. Buchanan against 5. Sanger, and 11. Clovis East vs 6. Bullard. Clovis West was placed in division 2 where it is the 13th seed and will face Bakersfield Christian, 4th seed, in the first round. Also in division 2 is 15th Clovis who had 2. Tulare Western as its rival.

The Central Section’s Top Ranked Girls’ soccer teams

by MaxPreps Feb. 8, 2024

  1. Liberty (Bak.)     19-1-2
  2. Garces Memorial (Bak.)   16-2-1
  3. Clovis North   17-3-2
  4. San Luis Obispo   13-2-4
  5. Sanger   16-3-2
  6. Bullard   15-2-4
  7. Redwood (Visalia)     17-3-3
  8. Centennial (Bak.)   15-6
  9. Independence   (Bak.)  15-5-2
  10. Paso Robles    16-3-5