Continuing its winning ways, after capturing the championship of the Hoover Holiday Tournament, the Yosemite High varsity girls basketball team (10-3) went 4-0 in the Madera Tournament opening, running over long-time rival Hanford 71-43.
The Badgers and Bulldogs were intense rivals 10 years ago, meeting in Fresno’s Selland Arena four times with a CIF Championship at stake, each winning twice. In 2008, the two rivals were the only schools in the country to make more than 300 3-point shots in a season.
The latest sharp-shooter in the rivalry are Hanford senior Katie McClard, who has signed with Fresno Pacific University (coached by 2000 YHS graduate Tim Beauregard) and Yosemite junior Grace Fries, who currently leads the State in made 3-point shots.
McClard had 21 points to lead the Bulldogs but Fries about outscored the entire Hanford team by herself, finishing with 40 points. She joins former Yosemite girls basketball greats Katie Menton and Sydnee Fipps in eclipsing the 40 point mark.
Junior post player Hailey Rich added 14 points and 9 rebounds.
66-26 over Coalinga
In the second game of the Tournament, Yosemite overwhelmed Coalinga 66-26 with Fries scoring 24 points and junior point guard Lilly Graffigna getting 15.
In the first two games of the tournaments, Yosemite was without the services on two 5-foot-10 post players, 5-foot-10 junior Sophie McGoldrick and senior Siena Oswald. Two JV team players were brought up to fill the roster spots, freshman Britney Allen and Jenna Kurz while 5-ffot-4 senior Kelsey Montalto stepped into the starting spot.
The third game of the tournament found the Badgers facing the Edison Tigers and Fries gave made her 31 point effort look routine while Graffigna added 16 points in the Badgers’ 70-51 win.
In the championship game, Yosemite took on Friebaugh and rolled to a 71-32 victory. Fries had 24 points while McGoldrick and 5-foot-10 senior center Allison Bernardi each scored 12 points.
MVP Fries scores 119 points in four games
It was no surprise when Fries was named the tournament MVP, after scoring 119 points in the four games, nearly a 30 point per game average. She scored 40, 24, 31 and 24 while going 22-55 on 3-point shots - a solid 40% shooting average.
These four games followed a 29-point, 6 for 11 three-point shooting in leading the Badgers over previously undefeated Sierra Pacific in the championship game of the Hoover Tournament the prior weekend. Fries has made 52 three-point shots this season, 8 more than the next player on the MaxPreps.com California list.
For her outstanding play, Graffigna was chosen to the All-Tournament team.
The Badgers have now won 10 games in a row after starting the season 0-3. All the victories have been by double digits, in fact, all the half-time leads have been by double digits as the combination of outside/inside scoring has created havoc with opponents’ defenses.
Yosemite competes in the CIF Central Section D-II and needs to continue the winning ways so that the team can land a high seed in the playoffs.
The 31 teams in the division includes Bakersfield High, the team the Badgers lost to last season on the road in the semi-finals. If the Badgers can secure the No. 2 seed and can avoid traveling to Bakersfield in the early rounds of the playoffs, there’s a good chance the team can make it to the finals at Selland Arena this season.
The team is off this week, with players focusing on finals.
On Dec. 27, Yosemite travels to San Diego for a tournament in which the team will play Douglas (NV), Mira Costa and La Costa Canyon on successive days.
On Thursday and Friday, Jan. 4 and 5, the girls play at home at 6:30 p.m. in the Yosemite Winter Shootout with the finals on Saturday, times to be determined.
At 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23, former Yosemite girls basketball players are encouraged to participate in the Alumni Game. Last year, 25 girls played in the fundraising game.
Details: Gary Blate, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yosemite High Correspondent