After winning an 11th consecutive outright or shared North Sequoia League championship, the Yosemite High girls basketball team (15-10, 9-1) was given the No. 6 seed in the CIF Central Section Division II playoffs and, after a first round bye, travelled to Visalia to face the No. 3 seed Redwood Rangers (22-5) who beat the Badgers 47-38.
After 11 straight league championships, this was the Badgers first time opening the playoffs on the road. Redwood was highly touted as one the best offensive teams in the section which it led in 3-point shooting.
According to coach Gary Blate, the Yosemite game plan was to prevent Redwoods two top shooters, Rebeckah Cervantes and Corissa Turley, the second and fourth best 3-point shooters in the section, from getting to many open shots. That strategy worked as neither of the top two made a 3-point shot and the only 3s made by the Rangers were in the first half, three total, by two other players.
The Badgers defensive strategy needed a consistent offensive output to counter the slower pace of the game and the Badgers failed to do this, scoring only four points in the second quarter after taking the first quarter lead, 10-9. Yosemite made only one of eight free throws in first half and only one outside shot, digging themselves into a 23-14 deficit at halftime.
The team missed 10 free throws in the second half and numerous inside shots.
The Badgers made only 11 of 32 of their two-point shots on the night.
Junior guard Sierra Dominici was 3-5 on 3-point shots with the rest of the team missing all of the eight long distance attempts.
The final free throw tally for the Badgers was 7-24 which included the front end of one-on-one attempts, meaning the Badgers missed the opportunity of scoring about 20 points from the charity stripe.
Dominici, who was responsible for keeping the score close, finished the game with 21 points. Playing at both the guard and forward positions, Dominici has played with a shoulder injury all season which will require surgery in the off-season. The Badgers were plagued by physical ailments during the year.
After Dominici, sophomore Mattaya Brown was the next leading scorer for Yosemite with six points.
The teams only senior, 6-foot-1 center Dahlia Lopez had nine rebounds in the game along with three points.
With the win, Redwood advances to face the No. 2 seed in Garces of Bakersfield, a team which was the top seed in 2011 and upset by the Badgers team led by Sydnee Fipps, now a sophomore starting for UC Davis.
The 2014 Yosemite team will return up to nine players many with two years of varsity experience. In addition, two quick guards were unable to contribute this season following knee surgeries so the Badgers are expected to be strong in the coming years if everyone can get to full strength and avoid injuries.
The team awards banquet will be in the school cafeteria at 6 p.m. Monday, March 11.