2020 has been a tough year, so as the year winds down, the Sports Central team wants to remind our viewers of all the great things we’ve seen from Valley athletes and teams so far this century. So each weekday through Dec. 30 during our 6 p.m. sportscasts on KSEE24 and CBS47 (and during our 11 p.m. newscasts on Christmas Eve and Christmas), the sports team is counting down the 20 best Central Valley sports stories over the last 20 years, something we’re calling 20 in ’20. And checking in at No. 11 on the list is the Clovis West girls basketball team that had a magical run in 2017.
FRESNO, Calif. — Headed into the 2016-2017 season, the Clovis West girls basketball dynasty was already well-established around the Central Section.
The Golden Eagles had won four straight Division-1 Valley titles and seven in a ten-year period, but in the spring of 2017, Craig Campbell’s program solidified itself as a state and national power as well.
With the help of an experienced roster featuring five seniors who would all sign with division-one programs, the Golden Eagles made quite a splash at a couple early-season national tournaments, and then won their ten league games by an average of nearly 44 points per contest.
They followed that up by cruising to a 5th straight Valley title, and were installed as the number one seed in the So-Cal half of the Open Division state bracket, a spot not usually reserved for a public school out of the Central Section.
They more than lived up to the lofty billing though, blowing out a private school from the San Diego Section in the Regional semifinal, and then taking out perennial Southern California power Long Beach Poly in the So-Cal regional final.
That win punched Clovis West’s ticket to one of the biggest stages in high school girls basketball, California’s Open Division State Championship game at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
Once again, the Eagles didn’t disappoint, punctuating their magical season with a tight, four-point championship win over Nor-Cal private power Archbishop Mitty. In the process, becoming the first Central Section team to ever win a top-division state championship.
A few days later, ESPN.com placed Clovis West in the number one spot in their final national top-25, further solidifying their spot as arguably, the greatest high school girls team to ever play in the Central Section.