The Yosemite High School basketball team's (1-15, 1-1) 15-game losing streak came to an end before a home crowd Jan. 18, as the Badgers held off a physical Liberty High team (10-8, 1-1) for a 39-35 win.
Poor shooting by both teams kept the low scoring game close. The Badgers led after the first quarter 5-4 and at halftime 18-10.
With two minutes left in the game, Yosemite held a 36-31 lead and after a free throw by Liberty, the score was 36-32 with 1:04 to play. Luke Blate made a driving lay-up with 46 seconds left in the game, giving Yosemite a 38-32 lead. Liberty scored a bucket and a free throw to make the game 38-35 but ran out of time as Yosemite's Derek Jenkins scored Yosemite's last point of the night with a free throw with four seconds left giving the badgers the 39-35 win.
Blate was high scorer for Yosemite with 10 points. After scoring eight points, Yosemite lost the services of center Dillon Moran when he went down with a sprained ankle in the third quarter.
Freshman Jayson Leer and Jared wood each had six points and Ben Williams had five.
The Badgers Jared Wood and Moran held Liberty's 6-foot-9 Stetson Woods to nine points.
"Our players were excited to get the win," said coach Steve Lopez. "I was happy for the team, especially for the guys who played football. Until tonight, they had not won a football or basketball game."
"We haven't been shooting well and it's hard to win shooting just 34%," said Lopez. "We moved the ball around better tonight and made better shot selection."
Lopez hopes the intensity his players showed against Liberty carries over to upcoming games.
"We'll face better teams in Washington Union and Chowchilla," Lopez said. "But if we play like we did tonight, we might sneak up on a couple teams."
Washington Union (14-9, 2-0) beat Chowchilla (8-5, 0-1) Friday night 56-53 and defeated Kerman (7-7, 0-1) 72-46 on Jan. 15.
Sierra beats Yosemite 71-46
On Jan. 15, the Badgers lost their opening league game of the season to Sierra (10-7, 1-0) 71-46.
A trip to Tollhouse is never easy. Led by senior point guard Casey Blunt's 27 points, Sierra dominated from start to finish. The Badgers dug a huge hole in the first period committing 10 turnovers and the Chieftains bolted to a 25-10 lead.
Yosemite's offense got untracked in the second period behind Luke Blate's 9 point outburst. YHS closed to 22-14 on a 6-0 run, but Sierra answered with an 8-2 run of their own behind Blunt's outside shooting. Yosemite matched Sierra's output, but was still down 35-20 at the half. Blunt (14 points) and Eli Nora (10 points) did most of the damage for the Chieftains in the first half.
Blate and Moran combined for nine third period points and Yosemite got within 11 points before Blunt scored six straight points for the Chieftains. In the fourth quarter Sierra kept pouring it on leaving their starters in virtually the whole game. Blate kept battling scoring layups and from beyond the arc. Blate led Yosemite with 19 points. Sierra closed the game on a 12-5 run. The victory was the 100th for coach Anthony Patino who has continued the proud tradition of Sierra basketball.
Washington Union looks to be the team to beat in the NSL. The Panthers are 14-9 overall and already 2-0 in league. Union is led by junior Shakor Major who is averaging 17 points per game. William Blue is right behind with 12 points per game. The up-tempo offense and the Panthers athleticism will make life difficult for the rest of the NSL.
Sierra has great guard play with Blunt and Nora. Liberty is a mystery at 9-7 but a loss to the Badgers was big. The team is physical with players from their CIF Division IV championship football team, but their shooting has been less than accurate. Liberty has height in the paint led by the 6-foot-9 Woods who is averaging a league best 18.6. Yosemite held him to just nine points.
The Chowchilla Redskins are led by point guard Devaughn Gaines, maybe the best athlete in the league. Gaines was NSL MVP in football and is a natural leader. Aaron Deatherage is the leading scorer for Chowchilla at 14 points per game.
The Badgers played Washington Union Tuesday and travel to Chowchilla Friday.
JV team gets two wins
The Badger JV team beat Liberty 37-28. Zak Clayton had 12 points and Kade Cross had nine points and eight rebounds. Yosemite held Liberty to just three points in the fourth quarter while scoring 10.
Clayton scored 16 and Chase Maurer scored 15 in the team's 50-48 win over Sierra on Jan. 15.
Lady Badgers open league with two wins
The Yosemite High School Girls Basketball Team opened North Sequoia League action on the road with a convincing 51-36 win over rival Sierra High School on Jan. 16. The teams have shared the last two league championships, splitting their games each other to finish league play at 9-1. Sierra entered the game with high hopes of ending the Badgers streak of 10 straight league crowns.
Many were giving Sierra the advantage in this game since it was on its home court, along with the fact the team returned a couple starters from last year's team plus the addition of players from a last season's undefeated JV squad. Combine that with the Badger's inconsistent play and two straight non-league losses going into the game, appeared to give the Chieftains the advantage.
As it turned out, the Badgers rose to the occasion and proved to be too much for the Chieftains to handle on this night.
The first half was even with the Badgers taking a two point lead into the locker room. In the third quarter, the Yosemite shooters came alive and resembled the record setting teams of the past as the Badgers outscored their opponent 24-10 behind the 3-point shooting of juniors Kaley Mumm and Rylie McConnell, each of whom made three 3-pointers in the quarter. The Chieftains were unable to recover from the onslaught and Yosemite coasted to a 51-36 victory.
McConnell made five 3-pointers for the night and was the leading scorer with 15 points. Fellow junior guard Sierra Dominici had 10 points with two 3s, and post players Dahlia Lopez, the teams' only senior, and Veronica Miller each had eight points to go with the nine scored by Mumm.
Lopez and Mumm had nine and eight rebounds respectively while Dominici and McConnell each had six assists.
The second league game was at home against the Liberty Hawks, a team much improved from past seasons but still no match for the lady Badgers who jumped out to a 29-14 halftime lead and continued on to a 57-30 win. Dominici was the leading scorer with 20 points with Lopez getting a double-double with a season high 17 points and 12 rebounds. McConnell scored 11. Miller grabbed 12 rebounds and Dominici also had eight assists and 11 steals.
This week the girls play Washington Union on Wednesday and are at Chowchilla Friday. The following Friday is the rematch with Sierra in the Yosemite gym.
JV loses in overtime
The Badger JV team (3-12, 0-2) lost to Liberty in overtime 45-42.
After three quarters the Badgers were leading the game 35-22, but were outscored in the fourth quarter by Liberty 16-3 to force the game into overtime.
Allie Stearns, Jessica Fine and Lynette Combs scored 10, nine and seven points respectively for Yosemite. Game high scoring honors went to Liberty's Jillian Calie with 18.
On Jan. 16, the team lost to Sierra 58-38. High scorer for the Badgers was Combs with 15 with Fine adding eight.