This year marks my 40th as a reporter/editor in the newspaper industry; the majority of those years covering sports. During all those years, prep sports were my primary focus.

I’ve directly covered or closely followed from the editor’s desk some pretty good basketball teams during that time. Some very solid Clovis West High School teams during the 1980s, although this was before they became a state and, at times, national power. During my time in Clovis, it usually was the wrestling programs that made a name for themselves at the state level.

In my 20 years in Hanford, I covered some quality basketball teams. Probably the best among the boys was the 1993 Hanford High School squad that reached the Southern California regional semifinals. Their season ended at the hands of eventual state champion Mater Dei.

After I moved to the newsdesk and had limited contact with the prep sports world, I still managed to catch games of the 2001 Division 2 state champion Hanford High School girls. Those two were the best teams I’ve seen make noise on the state level, and I doubted I ever would make a trip to Sacramento for a state championship.

Then, along came the Immanuel Eagles.

The program has been a perennial power, but usually would come up short against rugged Southern California competition in the postseason. From the newsdesk, I watched a dominating section team with excellent talent that couldn’t quite get to the next level.

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