There doesn't appear to be any ominous signs that the Hanford Bullpups' stranglehold over the West Yosemite League girls basketball crown is going to end anytime soon.
No other WYL school has been able to muster up a serious challenge to the Bullpups over the previous six seasons. The Bullpups commenced their quest for an eighth straight WYL championship by fending off the Redwood Rangers, perhaps their top current threat to WYL supremacy.
The big question surrounding the Bullpups during this season's WYL campaign is probably: Will their WYL win streak hit 84?
It now sits at 73.
Hanford defeated Redwood 70-52 in the WYL opener Wednesday at Redwood High School.
Hanford (10-4, 1-0) is the seven-time defending WYL champion and has also won five straight Central Section titles (two in Division I, two in Division II and one in Division III). And the Bullpups make a very compelling argument that there is not another basketball program in the Central Section that has built a more dominant dynasty than they have in the WYL. Hanford has posted six straight 12-0 league seasons. Its last league loss was Feb. 16, 2006.
The Gonzaga-bound Bayli McClard scored a game-high 28 points for Hanford. McClard was a steady presence in the scorebook, scoring at least five points in each quarter. She started the game with eight points in the first quarter, and scored eight points over the first 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter as the Bullpups extended their lead to 65-46.
Despite Hanford's superior play in all facets throughout the second half, there is no reason for Redwood (10-3, 0-1) to feel that the rest of its season outlook is bleak.
The Rangers were right there with the Bullpups for the entire first half and the first two minutes of the third quarter.
Hanford was up 17-13 at the end of the first quarter, and Redwood was within two points of Hanford a couple of times in the second quarter. The Bullpups were up 34-29 at halftime.
The Rangers closed the gap to one at 36-35 early in the third, but the Bullpups would score 16 of the next 20 points to take a comfortable 52-39 lead with a minute left in the period.
"Hanford kind of stymied us in the second half. Hanford picked up the pace of the game, and that was the difference," Redwood coach Jason Black said. "I think we learned a lot from this game, though. We bounced back from that loss to Selma, and to score like we did in the first half against a team like Hanford tells you this team has potential."
Corissa Turley a team-high 22 points for Redwood. Jordan Surfus added 15 points. JC Chamalbide had a strong rebounding game, limiting Hanford's second-chance opportunities.