The Yosemite High basketball team (6-19, 2-8 North Sequoia League) played its final game of the season Feb. 17, in Oakhurst on Senior Night - losing to Kerman (20-7, 7-3 NSL), 64-57.
It was the fourth meeting of the season between the Kerman Lions and Yosemite Badgers. Kerman was a ranked D-IV team for much of the year. After leading for most of the game, and building a nine point lead in the third period, the Badgers couldn’t hold.
Amidst a mid-season coaching change the Badgers rebounded and have played well in a tough North Sequoia League. Interim Coach Aaron Eames has done his best to make the Badgers a respectable and cohesive unit, guiding the Badgers to a 2-3 record in the last five games.
“We had a great night even though we lost,” Eames said. “Senior Night is so special. Knowing we weren’t going to playoffs we had a plan to win our last two games for our seniors. We beat Chowchilla and almost pulled off an upset against one of the best teams in the NSL. I’m so proud and privileged to have coached this team.”
As he has done for the entire 25-game season, Kade Cross lead the Badgers with 19 points. A certain all-NSL selection, Cross also led YHS with 15 rebounds.
Cross completes one of the best overall seasons in YHS boys basketball history. He scored 30+ points three times and 20+ points seven times. He only had one game under 10 points all season.
In addition to scoring, Cross was ranked No. 2 in blocks (73) and No. 11 in rebounds (8.9) per game in the Central Section according to MaxPreps.
Kerman’s sophomore center, David Rico, led all scorers with 27 points.
Freshman shooting guard Cannon Eames had a season high five 3-pointers en route to a 17 point night, his season high. Since moving up from the JV team on Jan. 7, Eames has five games in double figures and ended the season with a 6.9 points per game average.
Yosemite had a great start scoring 22 points in a fast and furious first quarter. YHS took a 31-30 lead into halftime.
Senior guard Aaron Bausch took the reins for most of the game, while the Badgers survived the Lions defensive pressure.
“Our seniors played really well,” Eames said. “During the season, when the seniors produced we were in every game, despite who we played. Tonight was no different. Sam Williams (8 points), Chase Lassos (6 points) and Aaron Bausch (4 points) put us in a position to win. I really wanted the seniors to go out with a victory and they almost pulled it off.”
The Badger JV team (8-16, 1-9) was outscored every quarter on the way to a 45-30 loss to Kerman. Freshman guard Ty Peterson led YHS with a season-high 14 points. Peterson also had 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Freshman Brian Mullarkey who came on strong at the end of the season scored 8 points and had 5 rebounds. Trevor Peter led YHS with 7 steals and had 2 points.
Final North Sequoia League Standings
The North Sequoia League produced four Central Section playoff participants. Union ran away with another NSL title. The Panthers saved the best for last winning 11 straight. Union moves on to play in the D-III playoffs at home against Madera South. Union is seeded No. 6. Kerman plays in D-IV playoffs at home against McFarland. The Lions seeded No. 8 will play in a division that contains Immanuel (21-2), the No. 1 ranked team in the entire Central Section. Liberty put together a solid campaign and will play a home game vs. Fresno Christian in a D-V first round playoff game. Liberty drew a No. 4 seed. Sierra, despite having a losing record got a No. 8 seed in D-V. Sierra also drew a home game against No. 11 Alpaugh.
The North Sequoia League also produced scorers. According to MaxPreps.com four NSL players were top 15 scorers in the Central Section. Leading the way was sophomore David Rico of Kerman (No. 7 - 21.1 ppg). Yosemite junior center Kade Cross was No. 9 (18.8 ppg). Chowchilla senior guard Lorenzo Cuevas No. 10 (18.3 ppg), and Union’s Prentice Thomas No. 14 (17.1 ppg). Badger JV lose 45-30 to Kerman