When you’re hot, you’re hot.
Junior guard Erick Chaney made seven 3-pointers and scored 25 points to help host Bakersfield Christian hold off Clovis West for a 63-60 victory on Thursday night.
It was the second time this week that the Eagles (2-3) defeated the Golden Eagles (2-3), a perennial Central Section Division I boys basketball power led by legendary coach Vance Walberg.
“You have to get it done on both ends of the floor and that’s what we did tonight,” said Chaney, who made two 3-pointers in each of the first three quarters. “I try to do that every night, just getting it done on defense and offense.”
BCHS, which rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Clovis West 76-71 on Monday in Fresno, took control of Thursday’s game from the opening tip, survived a Golden Eagle rally, and made plays down the stretch to earn the victory.
“It’s huge for our program,” said Eagles coach Garrett Brown, whose team opened the season with a loss at state-ranked Northridge-Heritage Christian and has lost twice to Clovis North. “And it’s huge for our guys’ confidence. We feel like we had a few letdowns last week and earlier in the week, and so we really needed this game. It was a must-win game for us.”
A close game throughout, Clovis West rallied from an early nine-point deficit, took the lead briefly in the second quarter and pulled within 62-60 when Marcel Sanders made 1 of 2 free throws with 28 seconds to play.
With two fouls to give before being in the bonus, BCHS was able to run 16 seconds off the clock before senior Seth Marantos was sent to the line with 12 seconds to play. He made the first of the one-and-one free throw, but missed the second, giving the Golden Eagles another shot to tie the game.
But Ryas Vang’s desperation 3-pointer failed to draw iron and Chaney rebounded and dribbled out the clock to secure the win.
Chaney, who transferred from GSA Prep, nailed a baseline 3-pointer to open the scoring, added another a few minutes later, and when Marantos connected from beyond the arc, the Eagles led 11-2 with 3:42 left in the first quarter.
“When I get the ball and I'm open, I’m thinking I have to get my form right, the correct stance and get everything right,” Chaney said. “And when I let it go I just believe in it. I tell myself it’s going in every time.”
Clovis West chipped away at the lead, and went ahead on a 3-pointer by Jackson Young that capped a 14-2 run for a 16-13 Golden Eagle lead.
Chaney followed with a 3 and junior Zach Hiebert hit one his own, and the Eagles never trailed thereafter.
Jackson Tucker, another GSA transfer, scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, and Marantos and Hiebert finished with 10 and nine points, respectively.
Defensively, BCHS did its best to pressure Clovis West, specifically senior and UC Santa Barbara commit Cole Anderson, who was held to 11 points.
“We finally brought the intensity and the toughness that I’ve been looking for on the defensive end,” Brown said. “Communication, rebounding … I’m not really happy with us turning the ball over, but we’ll get better. That’s what teams like Clovis West do. They speed you up, they’re really well-coached and they play really hard. They try to put you in situations where you’re uncomfortable. So we handled it well for the most part, but we’ll get better.”