The Yosemite High School varsity basketball team (0-10) is battling poor shooting (no game with more than 30% accuracy shooting from the floor) and the inability to protect the ball this season.
"Our defense is getting better," coach Steve Lopez said, "but our high number of turnovers and overall low shooting percentage is hurting us."
A point proven against Madera South last Friday night, as the Badgers shot just 22% from the floor (nine of 40 attempts) and turned the ball over 34 times. while losing 46-24.
The Badgers scored only 12 points in the first and another 12 in the second half (four in the third quarter).
A bright spot on the team has been Jayson Lee, the freshman recently moved up to varsity from the JV team. He was the team's leading scorer Friday night with eight points, the second time he has been the team's leading scorer in four games. He has also been the team's leading rebounder twice. If the name sounds familiar, Lee also was the standout freshman on the varsity football team.
Other scorers against Madera South were Ty Grant and Luke Blate with four each and Dillon Moran with two. Moran, the team's 6-foot-3 center, just retuned to the team from a sprained ankle and is not yet at 100%.
On Dec. 18, Yosemite played a much better game in its 56-44 loss to Fresno High. In that game, Yosemite was only behind by two points at half, 21-19, but were outscored by seven points in the third quarter (19-12).
Blate had his best game of the season scoring 20 points. Jared Wood had sic points, Grant four and Aaron Bausch four. Bausch is another freshman recently brought up to varsity from the JV team.
Teams off to Orlando
Yesterday, the Yosemite High School varsity boys and girls basketball teams embarked on an exciting adventure, flying out of the Fresno airport to Orlando, Fla., to participate in the Holiday Tournament at the ESPN World of Sports located at Disney World.
The teams will stay seven nights, and in addition to playing in a national tournament, the athletes will have the opportunity to visit Disney World, Universal Studios and an Orlando Magic NBA game during their visit. The trip, which costs about $2,500 per player, includes most meals and a New Years Eve party.
"The teams have been working since last March to raise money to go on this memorable trip," said Gary Blate, girls coach.
Fundraising events included a rummage sale, car wash, dance for junior high age students, a bowling event, bunco bash, golf tournament and a Halloween dinner/dance.
In addition to the money needed for the Florida trip, team members raised additional funds for summer tournaments in Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas and the Team Camp in Sonora. In addition, team members sold cinnamon rolls and Disneyland raffle tickets to come up with additional money for basketball shoes and team apparel.
"The basketball teams appreciate the generosity and support of the community in participating in these activities," Blate said. "Many parents of players were instrumental in planning these events including Nan Grant (rummage sale/physicals), Barbara Mumm (bowling), Leslie and Diane Peterson (bunco), Pam Rudd (golf) and Steve and Sherri Dominici (dances)."
Both Blate and boys coach Steve Lopez feel the experience will bond players and that will help them compete when they return to school in January. Both teams have young players (just one senior on girls team) and are going through growing pains as they complete a pre-league slate of games.
The girls will host Madera High on Jan. 8 and Blate looks for his team to improve before league play starts at Sierra on Jan 16. Liberty high will visit Yosemite on Jan. 18.
He said his guards, Sierra Dominici, Rylie McConnell, Mattaya Brown and Page Peterson need to control the ball and prevent the other team from penetrating the defense and underneath, center Dahlia Lopez, the team's only senior, needs to score consistently.
"Forwards Veronica Miller, Kaley Mumm, Jensen Eames and Jessica Rudd have to maintain a defensive intensity and get the ball in the basket," Blate said.
For the boys, Moran should be healthy for the Orlando trip. Junior Wood and senior Matt Davenport will patrol the paint while perimeter players Blate, Grant, Lee, Derek Jenkins and Stewart Carlson provide the outside shooting and ball-handling.
After arriving home from Florida, the boys and girls teams traveled to Tehachapi on Jan. 12. The boys open North Sequoia League play at Sierra on Jan. 15 and the girls travel to Sierra for their league opener Jan. 16.