The Yosemite High basketball team (3-2) was scheduled to play at least three games in the Kingsburg Lions Tournament Classic last week (Dec. 7 - 10), but the Badgers played in just one. Midway through the third period an altercation occurred on the court between Kingsburg and YHS that erupted into a near melee as parents and fans stormed the court. After multiple ejections, order was restored and the Vikings (2-4) came away with a 71-59 win.
After the game, Yosemite Head Coach Aaron Eames detailed the incident.
“A Kingsburg defender continually grabbed the ball during our inbound plays ... a tactic to slow our offense down,” Eames said. “Eventually, Cannon Eames got frustrated and grabbed the ball away from the player to start the offense. The player retaliated by pushing and slapped Cannon, and Cannon responded. From there virtually the whole Kingsburg bench stormed the court. Our team stayed on the sidelines, but Tristan (Cannon’s brother) naturally went to protect Cannon. Fans ran onto the court from the bleachers. Police were called to help restore order. The game finished without incident but emotions were obviously still high. We attempted to shake hands at the end but they left the court.”
Coach Eames explained that in all, 10 players were ejected from the game including both Eames brothers. The other eight were Kingsburg players, for leaving the bench during the altercation.
“It was all on video and later it eventually hit the internet,” Coach Eames said. “There were messages of potential retaliation. In discussions with the Kingsburg athletic director we decided to forego the rest of the tournament for player safety.”
“It was an unfortunate situation that got out of hand,” said Rusty Oetinger, YHS Athletic director. “So much so, that we felt it was unsafe to continue in the tournament. Cannon was exonerated in regards to instigating anything. He was just trying to defend himself from a Kingsburg player that has a history of this type of unsportsmanship.”
Kingsburg led Yosemite 34-33 at halftime. The third quarter was decisive as the Vikings outscored the Badgers 22-11. The Badgers, without their starting backcourt, could not overcome the deficit, but managed to outscore KHS 15-14 in the fourth quarter.
The Badger front court led the scoring. Junior center Ben Negley led YHS with 15 points. It is the second game this season where Negley has led the Badgers in scoring. He also pulled down 7 rebounds and had 2 steals.
Senior power forward Peter McLean had 12 points plus a monster effort on the boards, pulling down a season-high 17 rebounds.
Trevor Peter may have had his best all-around performance of the season. The starting senior small forward scored 4 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and also had 4 steals and 3 assists. Brian Mularkey continues to add a scoring punch to the Badger lineup with 8 points.
Prior to their third quarter ejections, Cannon Eames had 11 points and 4 steals. Tristan Eames added 5 points. Junior forward Noah Allen had 3 points and 3 rebounds to complete the Badger scoring.
Badgers play Minarets at Liberty Hawk Classic
Yosemite plays Minarets to open play at the Liberty Hawk Basketball Classic at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15, in the Madera Ranchos.
The Mustangs, coached by Paul Varner, are 2-3 this season. The Badgers will face an experienced Minarets squad that has 10 seniors.
Guard James Backmann leads Minarets, averaging 15.5 points per game according to Maxpreps.com. Backmann has a solid all-around game also averaging 6 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 assists.
The Badgers will be without Tristan and Cannon Eames due to a one-game suspension imposed from the Kingsburg game.
“It will be a huge challenge for us without our starting guards,” said Aaron Eames. “Still we will be ready. It’s always a big game for both teams.”
Minarets will play at Yosemite on Dec. 22. JV game 5:30 p.m. - Varsity 7.
North Sequoia League play opens at Sierra on Jan. 13.