The Yosemite varsity boys' basketball program (3-13, 1-0 NSL) split home games last week. After dropping the final non-league contest Jan. 15 to Fresno High (17-2) 67-32, the Badgers came back last Friday to defeat arch-rival Sierra 57-39 (3-12, 0-1 NSL) in the North Sequoia League opener for both teams.
The record doesn't tell the whole story. After starting 0-11, Badger head coach Steve Lopez made needed adjustments. The biggest was bringing up freshman point guard Tristan Eames from the JV team at the Jesse Lujan Tournament in Selma. Eames made his first start Jan. 9 against Madera South where YHS narrowly lost 44-42. Since then, the Badgers have won three three of their last four games.
"Tristan has made a big difference," said Lopez. "We have really cut down on our turnovers and are playing more consistently week to week. The team has a lot of room to grow, but I am really happy where we are going at this point in the season."
Yosemite defeats Sierra 57-42
Last Friday the Badgers faced the Chieftains for the third time this season. Yosemite jumped out to an early lead that it never relinquished defeating Sierra 57-42. Sierra defeated Yosemite 65-58 on Dec. 14 at the Kingsburg Tournament. On Jan. 10 the Badgers beat the Chieftains 53-51 at the Jesse Lujan Tournament. It was Yosemite's first win of the season.
Yosemite now owns a two-game winning streak over arch-rival Sierra (3-12). Defeating the Chieftains has been a difficult task for the Badgers. Over the last five years, coach Anthony Patino's Chieftains have lost only three times to the Badgers, including twice this season. From 2008/09 to 2012/13 Sierra was 12-1 against Yosemite.
Playing in front of a loud and packed home crowd Yosemite responded with their best performance of the season.
"We played well," Lopez said. "The atmosphere was electric. The fans were in it and it got the players really fired up. Having the Badger Band playing was amazing. It was loud, like it used to be. We played good team defense, especially on the inside. This was a good win. Sierra is always well-coached team. It won't be this easy when we go to Tollhouse."
Yosemite led from start to finish. YHS jumped out to a 9-6 first quarter lead with Lassos and Jayson Lee putting together a 6-0 run. An Eames layup and a three-point play by Jared Wood ignited a decisive 9-0 run in the second quarter. Badger "bigs" Jared Wood and Cade Cross simply dominated the inside game.
With nothing inside Sierra was forced to shoot beyond the arc. The Chieftains were 1-10 from 3-point land in the first half. Eames drove the lane and fed both Wood and Cross in the paint. Yosemite went into halftime with a 27-14 lead.
Sierra's cold shooting continued into the third period. The Chieftains managed only two points in the entire period. The Badgers continued to pound it inside. Lee scored off the wing and YHS had a 44-16 lead going into the fourth.
Sierra finally got hot hitting six 3-point buckets in the fourth period scoring 26 points with most Badger starters on the bench. It was too little too late.
Cross and Wood ended up with a combined 27 points, 17 rebounds, and nine blocked shots. Eames had six assists. Lee had five rebounds and played solid defense all night. Stewart Carlson hit two 3-pointers and pulled down five rebounds. Aaron Bausch also had five rebounds as YHS dominated the boards.
Fresno defeats Yosemite 67-32
On Jan. 15, the Badgers ended their tough pre-NSL schedule getting blown out by the Fresno High Warriors.
"Other than Washington Union, I don't think anyone in the NSL has played a tougher non-league schedule than us," Lopez said. "It will only make us better prepared in what will be a tough North Sequoia League."
Fresno High out of the North Yosemite League has won 12 straight games including an 88-80 win over Union on Jan 11. The Warriors playing in D-II are an early favorite to win a CIF title.
After scoring 14 in the first quarter, the Badgers managed only 18 points the rest of the way. Yosemite had a woeful shooting night connecting on only 13 of 50 shots. Chase Lassos led Yosemite with seven points.
Score by quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
Yosemite 14 9 4 5 32
Fresno 23 14 14 16 67
Y: Carlson 3, Ben Williams 5, Bausch 3, Lassos 7, Lee 4, Wood 2, Cross 6, Eames 2.
F: Jones 18, Gillum 1, Major 11, Edwards 11, Williams 10, Price 4, Conley 6, Quinn 2, Kengon 4.
Score by quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
Yosemite 9 18 17 13 57
Sierra 6 8 2 26 42
Y: Cross 14, Wood 13, Lee 8, Eames 7, Carlson 6, Lassos 4, Bausch 3, Ben Williams 1, Sam Williams 1.
S: Smith 13, Soto 9, Naze 9, DaltonAlec 5, Ron Alec 4, Nora 2.
Sierra girls take league opener with 56-50 win over Yosemite
The Sierra girls team (12-4, 1-0) threw a temporary road block in the path of Yosemite's journey to a 12th consecutive league title with a 56-50 win over the Badgers (9-6, 0-1) last Friday. The Chieftains are ranked No. 8 in the Central Section and No. 2 for D-III in the section by Maxpreps.
The lady Badgers were uncharacteristically outscored in the first quarter, 17-2, and found themselves down at halftime, 32-14. Although Yosemite outscored Sierra by 13 points in the second half (38-25), they were not able to make up the large fist half deficit.
Yosemite's Veronica Miller was the Badger's high scorer with 18. Other Badger scorers included Taylor Burrall, 11, Sierra Dominici, 7, and Karley Mumm, 6.
Junior Megan Stark led Sierra scores with 18 with 5-foot-3 senior guard Mikayla Raley adding 15.
On Jan. 14, Yosemite beat Clovis North (8-6, 0-1) at home in a non-league game 52-47. Three Badgers scored in double digits Dominici (18), Mattaya Brown (16), and Miller (12 points - 14 rebounds).
The team went to Newark Memorial High Monday where Ni'yesha Brown scored 28, seven points less than the Badger's team scored in the 52-35 loss. Miller had 11 points in the game for Yosemite.