The Central Section boys and girls basketball playoffs are two weeks away.
While state-ranked Clovis West and Clovis North command Division I on the girls side — and a near-certain rematch in the finals at Selland Arena in Fresno on Feb. 23 — D-I on the boys side is a toss-up.
Clovis West had been the lone No. 1-ranked team this season in the BVarsity Central Section rankings, but were unseated this week after the Golden Eagles lost to new No. 1 Clovis North, 74-71, on Jan. 18. It was the first in-section loss for Clovis West this season, and makes things very interesting here in the final two weeks of the regular season.
No. 4 Fresno-Bullard was running the County-Metro Athletic Conference but lost to D-II power, No. 3 Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial, 67-64 last week.
Then there's Clovis East and Bakersfield High.
The Timberwolves were one of the hottest teams in the section before losing to Fresno-Edison on Jan. 19 (65-63 in overtime) and then falling again on Jan. 25 to Clovis North (69-66 final score).
And while teams in the Fresno-Clovis region have taken shots at each other in league play, No. 6 BHS has quietly been the best team in Kern County over the last month of the season. The Drillers are undefeated in Southwest Yosemite League play with three games left in the regular season despite not having a player averaging more than 12 points a game.
However, led by juniors Josh Geary (11.7 points per game) and Kosta Bikakis (10.7) the Drillers have had a balanced attack. Five others have averaged at least 8.7 points per contest for BHS, and another three are putting in 5 per game.
BHS plays Frontier and Centennial this week before its regular season finale at Liberty on Feb. 5.
Tracy, Darter win titles at MidCals
Frontier senior Trent Tracy continues his trek to winning a second consecutive CIF State boys wrestling title with another tournament championship over the weekend.
Tracy, ranked No. 1 in the state at 182 pounds after winning the 170-pound championship last March, beat state-ranked No. 3 Tyler Gianakopulos of Clovis with a 15-7 major decision in the finals at MidCals in Gilroy.
Another local came out on top as well, as Bakersfield High sophomore Justin Darter defeated Andrew Rasmussen of L.A.-Faith Baptist by fall in the 220-pound finals.
Frontier finished fifth overall in the team standings. Cole Reyes finished second at 126 pounds, Garrett Fletcher finished third at 132, Jose Landin finished fourth at 145 and Ty Shepherd placed eighth at 195.
Also at BHS, Jarad Priest came in second at 170, Andrew Bloemhof was third at 138 and Jordan Annis was third at 182.
Kern Valley's Jacob Lightner was another local placer, coming in eighth at 285.
Foothill, Liberty lead way at Highland Invite
Foothill and Liberty both had three individual winners at the Highland Invitational boys wrestling tournament in Bakersfield on Saturday.
Shane Corona (113 pounds), Angel Casimiro (120) and Tyler Hill (170) all won titles for Foothill while Jake Nagatani (106), Colton Hunt (126) and Matt Bustamante (145) won individual championships for Liberty.
Other local champions were Valentin Marin from Arvin (138), Dominic Rountree from Highland (152), Joncarlo Ruiz from Wasco (160), Bryce Martinez from Highland (195), Gerardo Aispuro from McFarland (220) and Emmanuel Castro from Garces (heavyweight).
Three locals named to Cal-Hi All-State
Three Kern County football players from the South Sequoia League were named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State small school team.
Shafter senior quarterback Alex Aguilar and Kennedy senior offensive lineman Ivan Garza were both named first-teamers, while Kennedy senior running back Tyreak Walker was named to second-team offense.
As a side note, Garza committed to Sacramento State over the weekend while on an official visit. Seniors can sign a National Letter of Intent beginning Feb. 6.
BVarsity Central Section Boys Basketball Top 10
1. Clovis North (16-7, 5-1 TRAC, Division I, previous rank 4)
2. Clovis West (22-3, 5-1 TRAC, D-I, 1)
3. Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial (15-10, 6-1 CMAC, D-II, 5)
4. Fresno-Bullard (20-4, 6-1 CMAC, D-I, 2)
5. Clovis East (18-6, 4-2 TRAC, D-I, 3)
6. Bakersfield (15-6, 7-0 SWYL, D-I, 10)
7. Arroyo Grande (19-5, 7-2 Mountain, D-I, 7)
8. Bakersfield Christian (19-4, 6-1 SYL, D-IV, 9)
9. Santa Maria-St. Joseph (1-6, 6-2 Mountain, D-I, 6)
10. Independence (15-5, 5-1 SYL, D-II, not ranked)
D-I: 1. Clovis North, Clovis West, Bullard, Clovis East
D-II: San Joaquin Memorial, Independence, Lemoore, San Luis Obispo
D-III: Visalia-Mt. Whitney, Reedley-Immanuel, Dinuba, North
D-IV: BCHS, Visalia-Central Valley Christian, Foothill, Kerman
D-V: Porterville-Granite Hills, Liberty-Madera Ranchos, Firebaugh, California City
BVarsity Central Section Girls Basketball Top 10
1. Clovis West (23-2, 6-0 TRAC, Division I, previous rank 1)
2. Clovis North (19-4, 5-1 TRAC, D-I, 2)
3. Fresno-Central (16-5, 3-3 TRAC, D-I, 7)
4. Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial (19-5, 7-0 CMAC, D-IV, 5)
5. Clovis-Buchanan (17-7, 2-4 TRAC, D-I, 4)
6. Clovis (18-7, 2-4 TRAC, D-I, 3)
7. Garces (1-4, 6-1 SWYL, D-II, not ranked)
8. Bakersfield (18-3, 6-1, SWYL, D-II, 6)
9. McFarland (21-4, 9-0 SSL, D-IV, 9)
10. Oakhurst-Yosemite (22-4, 7-0 NSL, D-II, 10)
D-I: Clovis West, Clovis North, Central, Buchanan
D-II: Garces, Bakersfield, Yosemite, Tehachapi
D-III: Selma, Fresno, Fresno-Roosevelt, Tulare Union
D-IV: San Joaquin Memorial, McFarland, Porterville, Kingsburg
D-V: Caruthers, Coalinga, Chowchilla, Kern Valley