CLOVIS, CA – In case you didn’t know the top team in “The Valley,” as locals like to call the CIF Central Section, has been Clovis West of Fresno for quite some time, and after a 79-45 win on the road at a scrappy and somewhat young but talented Buchanan, nothing has changed.
The Buchanan win comes on the heels of a 69-54 victory on May 3 over St. Mary’s of Stockton, previously the top girls team north of Bakersfield until Clovis West toppled them.
Playing in the top league in the Central Section, the Tri-Rivers Athletic Conference, head coach Craig Campbell and his Golden Eagles have gone 149-4 since the 2005-06 season and 82-1 since the 2012-13, including 3-0 this year after the Buchanan victory.
For a public school that needs to rely on local talent the Golden Eagles seem to re-load each year under Campbell, and that’s a testament to a coach that’s won a state championship in two states, first in Nevada and then in California when his 2017-17 team won the CIF state Open Division title after a 44-40 victory over an at the time national No. 1 Archbishop Mitty of San Jose.
Clovis West (10-0) looked true to form and its stars more than took care of business against Buchanan. They bolted out to a 12-1 lead and never looked back, extending the lead almost to the very end until the host Bears scored the final two points of the game.
Etoyah Montgomery, a 6-foot-1 sophomore wing that is comfortable down low and effective on the mid perimeter, missed a few makeable shots early but still finished with a game-high 19 points and a team-high nine rebounds,
Nikki Tom, a UC Irvine-bound senior and the Golden Eagles floor general had her usual solid all-around game and added 16 points (three 3-pointers), six steals, five rebounds and four assists.
Senior Kendall Jackson had seven points, freshman point guard Athena Tomlinson came off the bench for seven points and eight rebounds, and junior Michaela Young chipped in with seven points off the bench.
Buchanan (9-2) has been hobbled by injuries and has four girls out with knee injuries. That has necessitated head coach Adam Wall to expand his varsity roster and bring up some freshmen.
Senior wing Ashtyn Arnold led Buchanan with 15 points (two 3-pointers) and a game-high nine rebounds. One of those freshmen, Vanna Quintana, came off the bench to add 11 points.
“We’re not quite there yet,” Campbell said after the game. “We still have some things to work on to get ready for the playoffs, but right now the girls are playing well.”
Both teams are off until Wednesday when they resume Tri-Rivers action. Buchanan is at home against Clovis North-Fresno, and Clovis West faces 6-1 Clovis at home.