The Yosemite High Badger basketball team (2-21, 2-7) gave the Lions of Kerman (11-11, 5-5) an early scare on senior night Feb. 15 at Baker Gym, but the Lions poured it on in the fourth quarter for the 60-47 win wrapping up the season for Yosemite in the North Sequoia League.
Before one of the larger crowds of the year, Yosemite played straight up with playoff bound Kerman, but only for three quarters.
The loss ended a difficult season for Yosemite, getting just two wins. The win allowed Kerman to advance into the CIF Central Section D-IV playoffs seeded No. 15.
"It was a good game," Badger coach Steve Lopez said. "We stayed close into the third. We played hard, but we just got beat in the end. I know it was a tough year, but I think the team played much better the last half of the season. The record just doesn't reflect it."
Senior Dillon Moran closed the season strong, scoring a season high 17 points and nine rebounds. Moran made a statement early scoring eight in an exciting first quarter. Moran helped kept Yosemite close with 15 points in the first half. He dominated on defensive end with five blocked shots.
Although the Badgers spotted Kerman an 11-3 first quarter lead, a Derek Jenkins layup keyed a 5-0 Yosemite run. Kerman held a 20-13 lead going into the second period.
Four turnovers (22 on the night) put Yosemite in a familiar hole. Kerman employing a full-court press most of the night, built a 24-13 lead, but the Badgers battled back. After a basket by Aaron Bausch, the Badgers defense stiffened. Moran scored down low and Luke Blate hit a 3-pointer as Yosemite outscored Kerman 15-11 in the second quarter and went into halftime down only 31-28.
Yosemite came out of halftime and quickly committed five turnovers and the shots didn't fall.
Kerman slowly built a 40-32 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter. The Lions took command and ended the third with a 22-2 run that effectively buried the Badgers. Yosemite managed only four points in the pivotal third period.
Kerman maintained a 20 point lead for most of the fourth quarter. Although the Badgers put together an 8-0 run with two 3-pointers from Blate, it was too little, too late. A steal and layup by Yosemite's Jensen Davis ended the night and a difficult year for Yosemite.
On Feb. 12, the Badgers lost to Chowchilla at home 66-43.
Yosemite honored the six graduating seniors prior to the game including the announcement of their grade point averages. The seniors are Luke Blate 3.85 GPA), Matt Davenport (4.1 GPA), Jensen Davis (3.4 GPA), Ty Grant (3.0 GPA), Derek Jenkins (3.7 GPA) and Dillon Moran (3.0) GPA.
"I wanted our seniors to have a great night, and I think they did," Lopez said. "Dillon had a great game on both ends. Ty and Luke hit key shots."
The North Sequoia League
In the end, it was all about Union. The Panthers won the league title outright with an 9-1 league record, 21-10 overall. Union gets the No. 1 seed in D-IV and will play 16 seed Kennedy High. The road to D-IV glory will go through Easton.
Sierra (16-9, 7-2) lost to Chowchilla (14-7, 6-3) last week and open section playoffs with No. 14 seed Mendota. Chowchilla (14-7, 6-3) is the No. XX seed and plays No. 12 seed Farmersville at home. Finally, No. 15 seed Kerman (11-11, 4-5) travels to No. 2 Union.