By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
With most basketball teams in the TRAC playing in out-of-section tournaments during Christmas break, the Clovis West boys team stayed in the comfy confines of home. And it paid off.
The young and talented group went 3-1 against solid competition in the Clovis West Nike Invitational, an event that pitted four Central Section teams versus four teams from up and down the state.
The format is different than a tournament with brackets in that each night teams know exactly who they’re playing, and with such a young team (the Eagles graduated eight seniors) experience is always a question mark. Adrian Antunez is the lone returning starter.
“Coming into this tournament, I wasn’t sure how well we were going to play because we are so young,” said the junior guard, the leading returning scorer. “But we played very well and we’ll continue to get better. Going 3-1 is always good.”
Clovis West (6-2 overall) started off with an 80-66 victory over Jordan of Long Beach then followed with a 59-31 win over Enterprise of Redding. Sophomore Adrian Martinez, in his second season on varsity, scored 26 points against Jordan, showing the athleticism that earned him first team All-TRAC honors as a quarterback.
Martinez has risen from a reserve last season to a prominent role this year. But all that matters at the end of the game, according to Martinez, is getting the win.
“I have been trying to do the job being asked of me and with the team we have it is to be a solid defender, steady scorer, and good rebounder,” said Martinez after the tournament. “We have plenty of talented people we can score, so it’s meaningless to our team who does the scoring as long as we win.”
On day three the Golden Eagles ran into a hot team and suffered their only loss of the showcase, 68-52 over Los Alamitos.
In the final game, they defeated Knight-Palmdale 72-59 behind Walter Graves III 17 points and The Adrians (Martinez with 16 and Antunez with 12) who both made the all-tournament team.
And both are looking forward to the season and banding together with a new batch of brothers.
“This season we are a much different team than the previous year. We lost eight seniors and are very young,” said Martinez. “However, we embrace who we are and play together as a unit. It will be very exciting this year and we plan on being a competitive force in the TRAC and Valley.”