Coaching is key at the high school level.
So, when a legend returns, everyone else is put on alert.
After 14 years removed from the high school ranks, Vance Walberg returned last season to Clovis West. It was there he became one of the all-time great coaches in Central Section history from 1989-2002 as Golden Eagles coach, and it didn’t take long for Walberg to get Clovis West back to the top.
The Golden Eagles dismantled No. 3 Fresno-Central 81-66 in the championship game of the Clovis West Nike Invitational on Saturday night.
Led by senior Brian Recek and freshman standout Cole Anderson, Clovis West now sits atop the BVarsity Central Section top 10 rankings for both boys and girls basketball three weeks into the regular season.
On the girls side, Clovis West (7-1) edged out up-and-coming Clovis North for the top seed with Independence ranked No. 3. The Falcons overcame two losses at the Redwood tournament on a day when four players were out taking SATs, to beat Stockdale in Independence's lone home game before league play starts in January.
Hoops extravaganza looming: While this is a quiet week of prep sports around Kern County — with most schools on a finals schedule — it leads up to a busy week of boys and girls basketball after Christmas.
While No. 4 Bakersfield and No. 10 Ridgeview will be down south playing in tournaments, No. 6 Liberty and No. 9 Centennial will be part of the Ralph Kravfe Memorial Basketball Tournament being played at East and Stockdale from Dec. 27-30. Foothill and Garces will headline the Garces Holiday Hoops Challenge.
The girls basketball mecca next week will be in the 8th Annual Arvin Holiday Showcase, with No. 7 Liberty leading the way for the 18-team field starting next Wednesday.
BVarsity Central Section boys basketball top 10
1. Clovis West (12-1, TRAC, Division I, previous rank 5)
2. Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial (4-2, CMAC, D-II, 1)
3. Fresno-Central (6-2, TRAC, D-I, 2)
4. Clovis-Buchanan (7-4, TRAC, D-I, 10)
5. Bakersfield (6-3, SWYL, D-I, 3)
6. Liberty (7-2, SWYL, D-I, 4)
7. Selma (5-3, CSL, D-II, 6)
8. Fresno-Bullard (6-3, CMAC, D-I, 7)
9. Centennial (6-2, SWYL, D-I, not ranked)
10. Ridgeview (5-5, SYL, D-I, 8)
BVarsity Central Section girls basketball top 10
1. Clovis West (7-1, TRAC, D-I, 1)
2. Clovis North (10-1, TRAC, D-I, 9)
3. Independence (7-2, SYL, D-I, 2)
4. Fresno-Central (6-3, TRAC, D-I, 3)
5. Bakersfield (6-1, SWYL, D-II, 4)
6. Fresno-Washington Union (12-0, NSL, D-IV, NR)
7. Liberty (8-1, SWYL, D-II, NR)
8. Oakhurst-Yosemite (10-3, NSL, D-II, NR)
9. Fresno (8-1, NSL, D-III, NR)
10. Hanford-Sierra Pacific (5-1, ESL, D-IV, NR)