Hanford debacle should not define Tom Parrish’s career

Hanford girls basketball coach Tom Parrish produced through an unrivaled work ethic.

All Hanford High coach Tom Parrish did was outwork everybody  to construct one of the most powerful girls basketball dynasties the Central Section has ever known — or will know.

Then the Bullpups’ coach got emotional, caught up in the lowest moment of his 197-47, eight-year career, and dropped a comment that has actually become national news (see Yahoo sports).

Parrish followed a section semifinal 57-39 loss at Clovis West last week Tuesday by saying he wouldn’t go to the Southern California Regionals even if the team got selected.

He would cool in the next couple days and change his mind, but, ultimately, the word didn’t get to Jim Crichlow, and the section commissioner didn’t pitch the recently state-ranked Bullpups in Sunday’s regional seeding.

It’s a shame for Parrish, the team, school and community because lost in the confusion was the fact everybody wanted to extend what had been a seven-year Hanford run in the regionals.

No sense in further detailing now a convoluted sequence of exchanges between Parrish, school athletic director Beau Hill and Crichlow that never found its preferred destination — the regionals for a team that may have been seeded as high as No. 5 in the 15-team Division I bracket.

Parrish is getting torched after what will likely be his final game. And, understand, he’s long planned to  check out after this season, anyway.

This is so unfortunate because, in 36 years at The Bee, I haven’t observed a coach — in any sport, boys or girls — who did a better job of collecting an ethnically diverse group on an annual basis and molding them into champions.

Further, the ranch foreman and self-taught coach accomplished this by achieving every coach’s ultimate goal — maximum performance from his players through a high standard of work ethic.

Hopefully, at the end of the day, when the pot cools, this is how Tom Parrish will be remembered.

Clovis West coach Campbell’s confession: “I would have seeded Hanford No. 1″

I caught up with Clovis West girls basketball coach Craig Campbell and asked him how he had the Division I seedings projected before they were announced by the Central Section office Feb. 16.

But, first, to review the top five: They came out — 1, Stockdale; 2, Clovis West; 3, Hanford; 4, Clovis; 5, Edison.

That was essentially a consensus shock in the section because two-year reigning D-I champion Hanford was expected to land the top seed.

Bottom line, Clovis West girls basketball coach Craig Campbell says, “I would have seeded Hanford No. 1.”

Back to Campbell, whose Golden Eagles (21-5) will host Hanford (23-4) tonight at 7 in a semifinal game that has created as much section interest in the girls’ division as there has been in years — and in large part because of the seeding issue.

He gave a three-fold answer to the original question:

“As a basketball mind, I had Hanford 1, Clovis West 2, Clovis 3 and I was waffling with Edison and Stockdale at 4 and 5.

“Based on the section’s criteria, we (CW) actually had the 1 over Hanford and Stockdale.

“But (bottom line), if someone had asked me to bracket D-I, I would have done Hanford 1 and us 2. They beat the heck out of us (56-15 last year) and are the defending section champion.”

Unfortunately, among a section seven-point seeding criteria that includes record vs. common opponents and place in common tournaments, there’s one blatant omission — COMMON SENSE.

This is actually the second straight seeding slap to Hanford, which responded to a No. 2 seed last year by crushing No. 1 Stockdale 65-49 in the D-I final at Selland Arena.

The Bullpups have won five consecutive section titles — 2012 (D-I), 2011 (D-I), 2010 (D-II), 2009 (D-II) and 2008 (D-III).

Clovis West captured D-I crowns under Campbell in 2007, ’08 and 2010.

“So that means five of the last six Valley (D-I) championships have gone through Hanford or Clovis West,” says Campbell while anticipating an “electric” stage tonight.

“It’s a game everyone’s looking forward to, regardless of seeds,” he says. “I told my kids how fortunate they are, that there are a lot of high school kids playing on a high level who don’t experience this atmosphere. Win or lose, it should be a memorable experience.”

Section girls hoops showdown Thursday night: Aarion McDonald (Bullard) vs. Brooke Johnson (Hanford)

Bullard freshman Aarion McDonald is pressing for state Freshman of the Year honors.

UPDATE: Aarion McDonald 42 for Bullard, Bayli McClard 39 for Hanford in Bullpups’ OT victory. Wow. Way Wow! …

And check the game’s photo gallery from Mark Crosse.

ORIGINAL POST: The best entertainment value in the Valley on Thursday night can be found in Hanford High’s gym for $6 (adults) or $4 (students).

It is here at 7 p.m. that the finest girls point guards in the Central Section will be matched in Bullard freshman Aarion McDonald and Hanford junior Brooke Johnson in the quarterfinals of the Division I playoffs.

The only negative to the showcase is that it isn’t in the D-I final March 1 at 6 p.m. in Selland Arena, affording greater exposure to neutral fans in the section.

McDonald, at 5-feet-3, is a sure state Freshman Player of the Year candidate. Extraordinarily quick and fearless at slicing through traffic while driving to the hoop, she’s averaging 25.1 points while accounting for 36% of the 21-5 team’s scoring. She’s also averaging about 6 rebounds, steals and assists.

Johnson, at 5-11, offers a distinctly different presence and role.

Hanford’s Brooke Johnson looks to pass past Redwood’s J.C. Chamalbide Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. The 2012 Bee All-Star is averaging 12.7 points, 5.6 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 6.0 steals. And she’s also an effective shotblocker.

Johnson’s a three-year starter for teams that have gone 78-17 overall and 36-0 in the West Yosemite League with three section titles — the past two in D-I after winning D-II in 2010.

Johnson took over managing the floor after Madison Parrish’s departure following the 2010 season.

There are two other interesting story lines in this game:

** Bullard coach Bill Engel was raised in Hanford before graduating from Roosevelt. He’s a popular guy in these parts and will have several Hanford friends in attendance.

** Hanford will arrive in a fury after being insulted by the section’s seeeding committee for the second straight year.

Last season, the Bullpups were seeded second behind Stockdale, so they merely blasted the Mustangs 65-49 for the D-I title at Selland.

This season, Hanford is seeded THIRD behind Stockdale and Clovis West. Coaches from sixth-seeded Bullard groaned upon learning the seeds, knowing that meant this quarterfinal journey into a gym that will be on fire.

Section girls hoops bummer: Ridgeview scratches in rematch with Hanford

A much-anticipated rematch among the Central Section’s top-ranked girls basketball teams, Ridgeview and Hanford, won’t come to fruition after the Wolf Pack bailed out of the game.

It was supposed to be the 7:30 p.m. headliner of the five-game MLK Girls Classic Saturday at College of the Sequoias.

And it would have occurred eight weeks after Ridgeview crushed the Bullpups, 73-47, in the Clovis West Nike Showdown.

That ended a 97-game winning streak against section competition for Hanford, which was itching for the rematch since with the improved health of Gonzaga-bound forward Bayli McClard (foot) and guard Gabby Gomez (knee). McClard, The Bee’s 2012 Player of the Year, would have gone head-to-head again with Ridgeview’s Erica McCall, who’s going to Stanford.

The resurgence of five-time defending section champion Hanford (15-4) was particularly evident Saturday, when it won 49-43 over Sacramento, one of the state’s top-ranked Division II teams.

But the Bullpups won’t get another shot at Ridgeview (17-3) after Wolf Pack coach Michael Martin scratched last week, citing a conflict with the school’s winter formal that night.

“He was originally going to bring his seven top girls and play because he committed,” MLK Classic director LeRohon Dodson says. “Then he changed his mind.”

The Bullpups and Wolf Pack have no chance of meeting in the postseason because Hanford’s D-I and Ridgeview D-II.

Dodson says the preliminary four games of the MLK Girls Classic will be played, but an hour later than originally scheduled.

Saturday’s card: 2:30 p.m., Roosevelt vs. Mission Oak; 4 p.m., Lindsay vs. Selma; 5:30 p.m., Redwood vs. Monache; 7 p.m., El Diamante vs. Western.