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Clovis West girls hoop stars helping Lil' Hoopsters

Every Saturday for six weeks, more than 350 Lil' Hoopsters from kindergarten to sixth grade come to get an education in basketball.

The Clovis West girls basketball team has enjoyed a dominant run in the Valley for more than a decade, and the Golden Eagles could be on their way to another Valley championship after beating Stockdale Thursday night in the quarterfinals.

As FOX26 Sports reporter Nick King shows us, Clovis West points to the feeder schools as a major reason for the run of success.

On Saturday morning, the week before playoffs began, Clovis West Coach Craig Campbell was hard at work, refereeing a little girls’ basketball game.

His high school players, who make up one of the best teams in the country, were there too, coaching the kids.

Clovis West player Danae Marquez said, "Interacting with the little ones is something I think is really special. Because then they come to our games and we see them in the stands, they make signs for us; they're genuinely happy to see us."

It's called Lil' Hoopsters. Every Saturday for six weeks, more than 350 girls from kindergarten to sixth grade come to get an education in basketball.

Coach Campbell said, "Trying to embrace our Clovis West area is important to us. We want the community backing and having those kids so excited about coming up, that's what's allowed us to sustain the level of success that we've had."

The Golden Eagles' success is remarkable: 12 Trac titles in 12 years under Campbell, with a 117-3 league record, and seven Valley titles, including the last four.

The current seniors never lost a league game, went 40-0, and achieved a number one national ranking earlier this season.

Coach Campbell said, "Even when the talent's a little thin, we've had kids for 8, 9 years, sometimes deeper with Lil’ Hoopsters, that helps us have them be fundamentally sound. They come in just expecting to be winners because they're part of the Clovis West girls’ basketball program."

Many of today's Clovis West stars started playing together as Lil’ Hoopsters, and the first thing they remember about those days is the names of their coaches.

Now, just months away from playing big-time college ball, they are the role models.

Clovis West player Bre'yanna Sanders said, "When I was younger when I looked up to Katie Ogdon, I want them to look up to me like that too. And you don't have to be the best to play in this program. All you have to do is work hard. So I just want them to realize that if you keep working hard, you can be as good as us."

Danae Marquez said "One of my girls, MacKenzie, she comes to every one of our home games, and we hug, and then at halftime, she gives me and Sarah a Skittle, and we're like, 'OK, when we shoot a three and we make it, it's for you, it's because of the Skittle.'"

Some of these young girls could be Coach Campbell's future stars.

Coach Campbell already received a note from one of the Lil’ Hoopsters, promising she’s going to out-hustle everyone when she plays on his team.



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