Badgers in first place after 46-41 win over Sierra

-- Yosemite High correspondentFebruary 7, 2013 

The Yosemite High School girls basketball team put a lot of pressure on themselves after the conclusion of the first round of league play. They beat Sierra in the first round, but lost to Chowchilla -- resulting in a tie between three teams with a 4-1 record, all vying for the top spot of the North Sequoia League. Whatever team wins in second round action could claim sole possession of the league crown.

The last game of the first round found the Badgers at much-improved Kerman. The girls did not play exceptionally sharp in the midweek contest but controlled the game through three quarters. They held the Lions to single digit scoring while opening a 35-15 lead before Kerman outscored the Badgers 11-6 in the last quarter to make the final score 41-26. Sierra Dominici led scorers with 15 points while Dahlia Lopez added 11 points.

This brought the pressure filled Friday night game with Sierra in the Badgers gym. Sierra routed Chowchilla on Wednesday night and had a lot of confidence in being able to split the series for the third straight year.

Part of the Yosemite problem the past two weeks has been a viral illness that struck most of the team members,but the Badgers were if full force for the big game with Sierra. Behind the nine points by Dalhia Lopez in the first quarter, Yosemite opened up an 18-11 lead, but Sierra came back to close within four at halftime.

The third quarter was even with each team scoring 15 points. The Badgers seemed to hold on to that four point lead but Dominici and Lopez both fouled out with minutes to play. Sophomore Mattaya Brown and junior Jensen Eames stepped in to maintain the defensive effort to preserve the victory by a 46-41 score. Junior guard Rylie McConnell was the high scorer with 15 points while sophomore Veronica Miller added a double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds. Lopez ended up with 11 points.

This week the Badgers are on the road. On Wednesday they are at Liberty Ranchos, and Friday at Washington Union -- both teams Yosemite beat by wide margins in the first round.

The showdown game is on Wednesday, Feb. 13 which is the rematch with Chowchilla in the Badgers' gym at 7 p.m. Yosemite will need a win if it wants a chance at its 11th consecutive league championship.

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