After being down by as much as 27 points, the Yosemite Badgers (12-8, 3-1 North Sequoia League) fell short in a great comeback effort, losing to the Kerman Lions (16-7, 5-0 NSL) 75-63 Jan. 27. The win gave the Lions sole possession of first place in the NSL.
Initially it looked like a Kerman rout, but the Badgers fought back and got as close as nine points in the fourth quarter. But the Lions, last year’s NSL champs with a 10-0 record, were able to hold off the Badgers.
The Lions won on the perimeter, hitting 10 three-point shots. Brothers David (seven 3s) and Daniel Rico (three 3s) did the damage from beyond the arc. On the inside power forward Jacob Shubin scored 20 points.
Badger point guard and team captain Tristan Eames played his finest game of the season, scoring 32 points (14 in the third quarter) and recording 4 assists and 2 steals.
Power forward Peter McLean led YHS with 17 rebounds and scored 11 points. It is the sixth double-double of the season for the 6-foot-3 senior and he is in position to set a new YHS career ‘rebounds’ record currently held by Kade Cross.
“I just tried to keep everyone together,” Tristan Eames said. “The whole team worked hard to get back in it. I’m looking forward to playing them at our house on Feb. 14.”
Kerman has one of the loudest gyms in the league, along with Sierra. The atmosphere on the floor and in the stands was emotional and there were a number of questionable calls that drew the ire of the Badger faithful and Head Coach Aaron Eames.
The loss to Kerman ended the Badgers win streak at five games.
Badgers defeat Chowchilla
Prior to the Kerman game, the Badgers won their fifth straight game by defeating Chowchilla (2-15, 0-4 NSL) 68-53 on the road Jan. 24.
YHS opened up a 22-9 lead in the first quarter. It was too much for the ‘Tribe’ to overcome. Chowchilla (formerly the Redskins), changed their mascot to the Tribe due to the new California mandate forbidding the mascot name ‘Redskins’ that took effect in January.
The Badgers went into halftime up 34-23 and outscored Chowchilla 25-11 for a 25 point lead, giving the bench plenty of playing time.
The game saw the return of junior forward Ty Peterson. Peterson, who sustained an injury at the final football 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, while Tristan recorded 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 boys JV team (15-4, 4-0 NSL) pulled away from Kerman in the fourth quarter to pull out a 47-35 win for their sixth straight win and the lead in the NSL. YHS held a 33-24 lead at the end of the third but the Lions (4-1 NSL) roared early in the fourth quarter going on an 8-0 run.
From there Badger sophomore power forward Tyler Matyschock scored 10 straight points leading YHS to the victory. Matyshock led all scorers with a season-high 28 points.
On Jan. 24, the JV team ran over Chowchilla 63-33.
Prior to the Kerman game, Head Coach Andy Medley’s team had scored more than 60 points in four straight 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.”
Matyshock was also dominant in the paint leading YHS with 24 points on 12 of 16 shooting. He pulled down 6 rebounds.
Shooting guard Paul Antonis connected on 4 of 6 three-point shots for 12 points. Dylan Allen had his best game of the season also connecting on 4 three-pointers for 12 points.
The boys played at Sierra on Jan. 31 and at Liberty-Madera Ranchos on Feb. 3. The teams will also 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.