After 11 straight loses, the Yosemite High School's boys basketball team (2-11) finally broke into the win column not once, but twice, at the 16-team Jesse Lujan Jr. Memorial Basketball Tournament in Selma Jan. 8-11.
The Badgers beat rival Sierra High (3-10) 53-52 Jan. 10 and Reedley (3-10) 37-26 on Jan. 11, while losing to the Centennial Golden Hawks of Bakersfield, 82-41, on Jan. 8, and Madera South, 44-42 Jan. 9.
The tournament, sponsored by the Selma Basketball Boosters is played in honor of former Selma player Jesse Lujan Jr. who passed away in an automobile accident on July 25, 2011.
The Badgers were led in scoring over the four games by Cade Cross and Jayson Lee who scored 46 and 45 points respectively, each averaging 11.5 points per game. Jared Wood averaged 7.1 points in the rourney, scoring 29 overall.
The Badgers opened the tournament by getting blown out by Centennial. The Hawks (9-4) play in the Southwest Yosemite League. The Badgers were down 32-27 at the half but managed only two third quarter points. What was a close first half game, turned quickly with the Hawks outscoring Yosemite 46 to 14 in the second half.
Cross led YHS with 10. Jayson Lee and Jared Wood each had 7.
In its game against Madera South (3-6), the Stallions took a 23-19 lead into halftime. YHS could not close the gap as each team traded baskets in the second half. It was a good team effort and Yosemite almost pulled off an upset victory.
Cross again led Yosemite with 12 points. Lee had eight and freshman guard Tristan Eames, recenly moved up from the JV team, scored seven.
The Jan. 10 game pitted long time North Sequoia League rivals Sierra and Yosemite against each other. The rivalry has been all-Sierra in recent years. Sierra had won three straight and nine of 10 dating back to 2009.
Coach Anthony Patino's team is a perennial D-IV playoff team playing in the SoCal CIF tourney last season. This season is different. Sierra is only 3-10 this season as graduation hit Sierra hard last spring.
Yosemite, with their highest scoring output of the tournament downed Sierra 53-52. It was the first win of the year. The victory was due to the combined effort of Cross, Lee and Wood who had 15, 15, and 13 points respectively.
Yosemite jumped out to a 17-13 first quarter lead. Yosemite would only score 5 points in the second quarter and went into halftime down 26-22. Sierra came out of the locker room on fire and led 44-32 by the end of the third.
It was an up and down game with many lead changes. A huge 21 point fourth quarter outburst saved YHS. It was the best quarter YHS has played all year.
Sierra let the lead slip away only scoring seven fourth quarter points and Yosemite pulled off the improbable comeback.
On Saturday the Badgers played the Reedley Pirates in the consolation round for 13th place. Yosemite put the defensive clamps on the Pirates (2-9) the entire game winning 37-26, a score that looked more like a football score. Reedley managed only one point in the first quarter and just 12 points for the entire second half.
The win gave the Badgers their second straight win and sophomore Lee had his second consecutive 15 point effort. Cross had nine and Ben Williams added six.
The Badgers open North Sequoia League play, hosting Sierra Friday. All four Badger teams will play starting off with the girls JV game at 3:30 p.m., boys JV at 5 p.m., girls varsity, 6:30 p.m., and boys varsity, 8 p.m.
Four games Friday
The Yosemite basketball teams open North Sequoia league play Friday at the Yosemite gym with the girls varsity playing at 6:30 p.m. and the boys at 8 p.m. The girls and boys JV teams will play at 4 and 5:15 p.m., respectively.
Very competitive games are expected as both the Badger boys and girls varsity teams have one-point victories over Sierra in non-league tournament games.
The Girls hosted Clovis North on the prior Tuesday and head to San Francisco City College on Monday to play Newark Memorial. Their next home game will be Friday, Jan. 31 against Chowchilla with the same Friday game times.
Centennial 83, Yosemite 41
Yosemite 13 14 2 12 41
Centennial 15 22 23 23 83
Madera South 44, Yosemite 42
Madera South 13 10 12 9 44
Yosemite 10 9 14 9 42
Yosemite 53, Sierra 51
Sierra 13 11 20 7 51
Yosemite 17 5 10 21 53
Yosemite 37, Reedley 26
Reedley 1 13 6 6 26
Yosemite 6 10 11 10 37