The Yosemite boys varsity basketball team (12-7, 3-0 North Sequoia League) won its fifth straight league game Tuesday by defeating Chowchilla 68-53.
The win sets up a first place road showdown for the Badgers with defending league champion Kerman (15-7, 4-0 NSL) this Friday. The Lions went 10-0 in league play last season.
To date, the Lions have won six straight and are scoring nearly 70 points a game during that streak.
Kerman is led by one of the best players in the Valley, 6-foot-2 senior forward David Rico, who is averaging 24 points (No. 3 in the Central Section), 12 rebounds, 4 steals (No. 3), and 3.4 assists per game.
Like YHS the Lions have a dominant brother combination. Junior Daniel Rico is the second leading scorer and rebounder for Kerman with 9.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. The Lions average 46 rebounds and 15 steals a game.
All four Yosemite teams will travel to Kerman Friday with the JV girls game at 3:30 p.m., JV boys 5 p.m., varsity girls 6:30 p.m., and varsity boys at 8 p.m..
Lady Badgers will also play for league lead
After a 60-31 win over Chowchilla Wednesday, the Lady Badgers (12-10, 4-0 NSL) will also be playing for the league lead at Kerman (19-4, 4-0 NSL) Friday.
Nine of the 10 team members scored in the Chowchilla game with Grace Fries getting a game high 20 points and Siena Oswald contributing 10. Hailey Rich had eight rebounds in the game to go with her four points.
On Friday, the Badgers will face a Lions team that is averaging 56 points, 37 rebounds, 18 steals and 15 assists a game. By comparison, Yosemite is averaging 50 points, 31 rebounds, 12 steals and 12 assists a game.
Kerman’s top player is 5-foot-11 freshman forward Breanna Hurt who is averaging 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2 steals a game.
Senior Kaitlyn Guizar averages 8.7 points per game and sophomore center Morgan Turner averages 8.3 points and nearly 9 rebounds per game.
Early lead against Chowchilla
The Badger boys ran away early in Tuesday’s game against Chowchilla (2-15, 0-4 NSL) with a 22-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. Chowchilla (2-15, 0-4), formerly the Redskins, changed their mascot to the Tribe due to the new California mandate forbidding the mascot name ‘Redskins’ that took effect Jan. 1.
The Badgers went into halftime up 34-23 but opened it up in the third quarter outscoring Chowchilla 25-11. At one time YHS held a 25 point lead. It allowed some solid minutes for the Badger bench.
Head coach Aaron Eames is pleased with the team’s overall play. “I think our team is really coming together at the right time,” Eames said. “I think we peaked a little early last season. This year we had some struggles early but things are where we want them to be. I was glad our bench got a lot of minutes to rest our starters.”
The game saw the return of junior forward Ty Peterson. Peterson, who sustained an injury at the final playoff game against Firebaugh, has been working his way into playing shape.
“We are really glad to have Ty back,” Eames said. “Ty is a great defender and gives us great energy off the bench. While on rehab, he really worked on his outside shooting and he can handle the ball. We definitely need him down the stretch.”
Cannon and Tristan Eames led YHS with 21 and 18 points respectively. Cannon led Yosemite with 7 steals, a season high, and added 5 rebounds. Tristan led YHS with 7 assists.
Center Ben Negley had 11 points and led the Badgers with 8 rebounds. Power forward Peter McLean had 6 points and 7 rebounds.
Michael Alvarez led Chowchilla with 20 points.
YHS JV on a roll
The Badger JV team (14-4, 3-0) won its fifth straight by defeating Chowchilla 63-33. The Badgers are in first place in the NSL.
Head coach Andy Medley’s team has scored more than 60 points in its last four games.
“We moved the ball very well which gave us a lot of great looks at the basket,” Medley said. “Chowchilla was not able to compete with our big men. Christian Rold (6 points and 7 rebounds) was an anchor for us on defense.”
Sophomore power forward Tyler Matyshock was also dominant in the paint, leading YHS with 24 points on 12 of 16 shooting. Matyshock also had 6 rebounds.
Shooting guard Paul Antonis continued his high-percentage perimeter shooting by connecting on 4 of 6 three-point shots for 12 points. Forward Dylan Allen had his best game of the season also connecting on four 3-pointers.
The boys will play at Sierra on Jan. 31 and at Liberty-Madera Ranchos on Feb. 3. The team will then play three straight home games - Feb. 7 (Washington Union), Feb. 10 (Chowchilla), and Feb. 14 (Kerman). The Jan. 20 home game against Washington Union that was canceled has been rescheduled at Union Feb. 15 to end the regular season before the Central Section D-IV playoffs.
The girls team plays at Sierra on Feb. 1, at Liberty Feb. 3 and at Washington Union Feb. 8. The Lady Badgers will finish league play with home games Feb. 10 (Chowchilla), Feb. 13 (Union), and Feb. 15 (Kerman) before the Central Section D-II playoffs.