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Fresno Buchanan Tournament: Huge Upset!
Clovis West Beats Washington Union--(Dec. 6, 1998)

Whoa.. . .  We were down at the Pond watching the Wooden Classic college games on Saturday when we should have been up in Fresno with our friend and correspondent Marty Hartwig, who had the opportunity to watch what was some of the best hoops action of the year. We'll present this in chronological seqeunce, so if you want the huge upset results, just skip to the middle for Marty's analysis and highlights.   

Here's what happened yesterday and Friday.

Friday Results:

Golden West 62, Madera 55
Centennial-Compton 68, Hoover 58
Chatsworth 58, Monache 37
Inglewood 98, Buchanan 61
Canoga Park 83, Highland 71
Clovis West 80, Edison 67
Washington 78, Sylmar 49
Clovis 85, Lemoore 63

But this wasn't the big news from Friday.  Nope, it was Clovis West's huge upset of Edison, which ultimately turned out just to be a precursor of another huge upset on Satuday. In Friday's game, Clovis West jumped out to a 27-9 lead with 4 minutes 59 seconds left in the first quarter, which is when Edison coach Pat Riddlesprigger was ejected. Clovis West coach Vance Wahlberg felt his defense played hard, but let down in the third quarter when they had the opportunity to put the game away. Sophomore Chris Hernandez led the Golden Eagles with 22 points.

Details of the Washington-Sylmar game, which had Washington Union advancing to the finals and Sylmar going to the consolation (third place) game were sketchy, but we do know that DeShawn Stevenson scored 14 points (including 5 dunks) and it sounds like Shammell Stallworth lit it up with 32 points.

Here's the complete results from Saturday's final games:

Clovis West 69, Washington 68 (1st place)
Sylmar 79, Edison 70 (3rd place)
Inglewood 89, Chatsworth 59 (5th place)
Monache 64, Buchanan 62 (7th place)
Clovis 87, Canoga Park 66 (Consolation championship)
Highland 58, Lemoore 56 (11th place)
Centennial-Compton 72, Golden West 62 (13th place)
Hoover 65, Madera 48 (15th place)

Here's Marty's report on the details of the third place and championship games:

Third Place Game: Sylmar 79, Edison 70--

I only saw the last half + of this game. Sylmar led 19-14 at the end of the first quarter. Edison apparently put it in gear to lead 42-34 at half-time. Sylmar calmly fought back and led 54-53 at the end of the 3rd quarter. In the 4th, Sylmar steadily built a lead, and Edison never really threatened. You've got to give credit to Sylmar, they never panicked, just kept chipping away at Edison. The game also marked the first appearance of Willie Johnson and Joe Gilliam for Edison (Edison's football season ended Friday night with an upset loss to Sanger High in the playoffs). Look for Edison to be much stronger when these two shake off the rust and get comfortable with their teammates. Sylmar was led by George Wrighster's 23 points , Jeremiah Turner's 19 and Brandon Jacobs 16.

Clovis West Upsets Washington Union!

Clovis West 69, Washington 68

I suppose you would have to call this an upset, but the way Clovis West played I don't think that's necessarily true. Clovis West has a deep bench (15 on the roster), and Vance Wahlberg substituted constantly from the outset (sometimes 4 and 5 players at a time. Clovis West played tenacious defense and solid offense to stay with Washington and lead 20-19 at the end of the 1st quarter. They continued their strong team play and led 39-35 at half-time.

I expected Washington to come out fired up in the second half, but Clovis West continued to dominate, outscoring Union 18-11 to take a 57-46 lead. In the fourth, quarter, DeShawn Stevenson and DeShawn Anderson turned it on, bringing a win within reach. Washington was down 67-66 with about 20 seconds left when Clovis West turned the ball over. After a Union time-out, the ball was inbounded to Stevenson, who dribbled the length of the floor, and scored on a running floater from about 8 feet out, leaving 8 seconds on the clock, with Union up 68-67.

The clock was reset to 12 seconds after a Clovis West time-out. Clovis West brought the ball down, and tried about a 17 foot shot from the left corner that hit the rim and missed. Clovis West's Charlie Rodriguez (an exchange student from the Dominican Republic who is listed as a 9th grader) came over the back of a Washington player for the rebound and put the ball in, putting Clovis West up 69-68. (Yes, I think there was a foul on the play, and Vonn Webb argued vigorously, but I don't think many officials are going to call that one.) Union called time-out with 1.2 seconds to play. Washington inbounded the ball to Stevenson who set up for a shot from beyond half court which just missed, grazing the front of the rim on the way down at the buzzer.

Rodriguez finished the game with 21 points, high for Clovis West. The remainder of Clovis West's scoring was a balanced team effort, with 9 other players scoring, only one in double figures. DeShawn Stevenson led all scorers with 28 points, Carvel Wafer (I just had to get that name in here) had 19 and DeShawn Anderson had 11 points off the bench (I believe all in the second half, in fact I don't think he played in the first half, reason unknown).

In my opinion, it was the Clovis West bench strength that won this game (and probably the tournament). Although DeShawn Stevenson put on a show at times, Washington looked flat and disorganized on offense, and a step slow on defense. Shamel Stallworth had a rough shooting night, missing a couple of open threes and finishing with only 8 points. I don't know if it was all fatigue or just a team that hasn't meshed yet, but Coach Webb is apparently right that at least right now, his team is overrated. If he can develop a bench to go with the obvious talent on the team, the rematch in Easton on January 30 should be interesting. At least Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian seemed to enjoy the game, he had a big smile on his face. On the other hand, maybe he was just glad it wasn't his team that looked like it was underachieving. The credit
for this win should go to Clovis West, they earned it with team play.

All-Tournament Team:

MVP - Charlie Rodriguez, Clovis West
Ash Knowlton, Clovis West
Chris Hernandez, Clovis West
DeShawn Stevenson, Washington
Shamell Stallworth, Washington
Brandon Jacobs, Sylmar
Chris Lopez, Edison
Sandy Fletcher, Ingelwood
Chris Simms, Clovis
Marquis Poole, Centennial-Compton
Jammie Harris, Canoga Park

The Fresno Bee's story on the game also managed to fill in some of what Marty didn't provide, which wasn't very much, and maybe CW's coach Vance Walberg and Artesia's Wayne Merino should get their kids together because from what we've heard, Charlie Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic would fit right in with Artesia's Jack Martinez and Apolinar Fernandez.  Heres' what the Fresno Bee had to say about the game:

Charlie Rodriguez doesn't know much English.  But the Clovis West High forward knows what to do with the basketball when the game is on the line.

With two seconds remaining in Saturday's Buchanan Hoops Invitational final, Rodriguez grabbed an offensive rebound, turned and made a 5-foot baseline jumper to give the Golden Eagles a 69-68 victory over Washington.

"I am very happy, very glad," said Rodriguez, an exchange student from the Dominican Republic named most valuable player of Clovis West's run through ranked teams from Inglewood and Edison before meeting Washington.

"To beat the teams we have to get here is amazing," Clovis West coach Vance Walberg said, clutching the championship trophy. "I always tell the guys, 'The harder you work, the more it pays off.'  Something good had to come out of it."

Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian was in a huge crowd that began gathering during Sylmar's 79-70 victory over Edison in the consolation final.

Washington junior DeShawn Stevenson scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the second quarter, but it was clear soon enough he wouldn't be able to carry the Panthers alone.   "What do you say about a guy like DeShawn Stevenson?" Walberg asked. "You can't really stop the kid."

Walberg, with 14 available players, used his deep bench to to concentrate on the other Washington starters, constantly throwing fresh players at the Panthers.  With only nine players, Washington coach Vonn Webb couldn't afford to sub but one at a time while Walberg brought in shifts hockey style - three, four and sometimes five at a time.   His plan appeared to be working as Clovis West built a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter.  But Stevenson got help in the final eight minutes from the bench, as reserve DeShawn Andersen ignited a rally in which Washington took a one-point lead with 14.2 seconds left. 

After a timeout, Stevenson took the ball the length of the court and dropped in a driving layup.

With one more chance to win it, Rodriguez stole the show, capping his 21-point performance with the game-winning put-back.  Rodriguez said he hadn't heard much about the Stevenson legacy before the game. "I'm sorry, I don't know," he said with a shrug through an assistant coach who translates for Rodriguez. 

If you missed the game, don't worry. You can always catch the rematch Jan. 30 in Easton.  "After the way this one went tonight, I can't even imagine what that'll be like," Walberg said.  All Walberg needs to know is that Rodriguez will be there.

Whoa.  Great game, and what an upset victory for Clovis West. Congratulations to CW and Coach Walberg.

The Swish Award
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