CW’s Central Valley Showdown: Section’s best girls hoops tourney — EVER!

State two-time defending Division I champion Mater Dei-Santa Ana is one of four state preseason Top 25-ranked girls basketball teams in this week’s Central Valley Showdown at Clovis West.

State-ranked teams in the 16-school field — the strongest in section girls basketball history — are No. 3 Mater Dei (34-3 last season), No. 14 Lynwood (26-5), No 15 Hanford (25-5) and No. 21 Ridgeview (24-8).

Hanford (D-I, Ridgeview (D-III) and Memorial (D-IV) are 2012 Central Section champions entered in the event, which will run Thursday through Saturday at two Clovis West gyms.

College-bound players in the tourney include Hanford’s Bayli McGlard (Gonzaga), Ridgeview’s Erica McCall (Stanford) and Mater Dei’s Karlie Lou (Stanford).

Bullard (23-6), a rising section program under coach Bill Engel, will learn firsthand what it’s like at the top when the Knights close first-round play against Mater Dei at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in the main gym.

Other first-rounders: Clovis East vs. Ridgeview, 4 p.m. (Gym 2); Memorial vs. Clovis West, 4 p.m. (Gym 1); Clovis North vs. Lincoln-Stockton, 5:30 p.m. (Gym 2); Buchanan vs. Oakridge-El Dorado Hills, 5:30 p.m. (Gym 1); Clayton Valley-Concord vs. Hanford, 7 p.m. (Gym 1); Clovis vs. Armijo-Fairfield, 7 p.m. (Gym 2); Bullard vs. Mater Dei-Santa Ana, 8:30 p.m. (Gym 1); Liberty-Bakersfield vs. Lynwood, 8:30 p.m. (Gym 2).

The championship is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the main gym.