The Yosemite High School girls basketball team (17-9, 7-3 NSL) opened round one of the CIF Central Section D-II playoffs with a convincing 46-28 win over the Ridgeview Wolf Pack in Bakersfield last Friday night.
Yosemite's senior Sierra Dominici and junior Veronica Miller were the game's high scorers with 16 points each. Sophomore Jessica Fine added eight.
Last Friday's game was a mild upset as Yosemite was the No. 5 seed and Ridgeview No. 4 in the section.
Ridgeview's higher seed was due to its recent success, having gone to the CIF finals the past four seasons and going undefeated in league this year matched against Yosemite's second place league finish and first round playoff losses the past two seasons.
Ridgeview displays large banners in its gym for CIF Championships in 2010 (D-III), 2012 (D-III), 2013 (D-II) and a runner-up finish in 2011, plus an even larger banner for appearing in the 2013 Southern California Regional Finals.
In those four years, the Wolf Pack was led by 6-foot-3 Parade All-American Ericca McCall who now plays at highly ranked Stanford.
The Badgers can match all those banners plus throw in a couple more championships (1997, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) plus runners-up (2008, 2010, 2011) and the SoCal Finals in 2007. So both teams had a lot of recent history and expectations going into the game.
15-14 at half time
Ridgeview was ahead 9-8 at the end of the first quarter but Yosemite was able to get ahead at the half 15-14 with neither team shooting well.
In the third quarter, the Badgers' hard conditioning in the weeks prior to the game started to pay off and Yosemite outscored Ridgeview 18-4 to take a 33-18 lead going into the fourth quarter. Early in the quarter, the Badger's 6-foot-2 center Taylor Burrall turned her ankle and was out of the game. The Badgers were sparked by the return of senior post player Jensen Eames who was able to play spot minutes on a bad foot. Yosemite was able to hold it together by going 5-for-6 from the free throw line and outscored Ridgeview in the final period to seal the win.
Along with Dominici and Miller scoring 16 each, Fine added eight after being inserted into the starting lineup with the injuries to Eames and 5-foot-9 Kaley Mumm.
Miller had nine rebounds while sophomores Ashlee Harrell and Fine had eight and seven rebounds respectively.
The Badgers will need to cut down on turnovers and put the ball in the basket to accomplish another upset.
Yosemite played the D-II No. 1 seed Garces Rams (28-3, 10-0) in Bakersfield last night. Garces is ranked as the No. 20 D-II team in the state and Yosemite is ranked No. 83 according to Maxpreps.com.
In 2011 the Yosemite traveled to Garces under similar circumstances and upset the then No. 1 team. This Garces team has 6-foot-2 sophomore CJ West who is the Rams leading scorer and rebounder and will be highly recruited by D-1 college powerhouses.
The winner of the Yosemite-Garces game will play for the Central Section D-II championship at 6 p.m., Friday at Fresno's Selland Arena.
Results were not available at press time. For results see: Season ends for lady Badgers.