Taft ousts undermanned Clovis West

WOODLAND HILLS -- The Taft boys' basketball didn’t waste any time jumping out to a double-digit lead and blowing out visiting Clovis West in the first round of the CIF state playoffs on Wednesday night.

Taft ousted an undermanned Clovis West team, 84-54. Four players from Taft scored in double figures. Anthony January led the way with 17 points. Kris Yanku and Brandon Perry each scored 16 as Taft moved on to the second round of the Division I Southern California Regional.

Clovis West (21-7), the Central Section Division I runner-up, didn’t have much of a chance against Taft. Coach Tom Orlich did not bring his top scorer, Charlie Thompson, to the game for disciplinary reasons.

“We left our top player home,” Orlich said. “He was averaging 30 a game in playoffs. That hurt us significantly tonight.”

Thompson was averaging 20 points per game during the season and scored 28 points in the Central Section Division I championship game against Bullard.

“Maybe if he played, he would have made a difference,” Yanku said. “But as of now, he didn’t play and we got the W.”

Taft scored the first 10 points of the game and was up 26-12 after the first quarter. January scored 10 points in the first period to lead the charge.

Perry pushed the lead to 21 points early in the second quarter dunking a missed shot. Yanku hit a pair of 3-pointers at the end of the quarter to give Taft a 45-27 lead at halftime.

“I feel like tonight we came out really focused and took advantage of our size down low,” Yanku said. “Our guards played great, played good defense and hit open shots.”

Taft extended its lead to 25 points, 58-33, in the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Steven Jones and a basket by Alessandro Alberto. The Toreadors (29-3) were up 60-41 after three quarters.

Both teams emptied their benches midway through the fourth quarter.

Jones finished with 12 points for Taft.

T.J. Jackson came off the bench and scored 14 points for Clovis West.

Taft eliminated Clovis West from the CIF State playoffs for the second year in a row. Taft beat Clovis West, 83-45, in the first round of last year’s Southern California Regional.