Yosemite High’s 6-foot-7 junior center Kade Cross held a coming out party during the Dec. 11 - 13 Kingsburg Classic Tournament, scoring 85 points and hauling in 59 rebounds in four games.
The tourney included Kingsburg, Coalinga, Kerman, Selma, and Yosemite. Yosemite lost its first three games in the tourney before getting its first win of the season against Kerman.
The Badgers lost the tournament opener to host Kingsburg (3-1) 70-57 on Dec. 10. More than half the Badgers points game from Cross, who finished the game with a game, and career high 33 points. He also pulled down 15 rebounds, and shoot 7-8 from the charity stripe.
Sophomore Peter McLean and senior Lassos, both 6-foot-4, had seven rebounds apiece. . YHS owned the glass pulling down 40 rebounds to 23 for Kingsburg.
“Even though we lost, I still thought we played our best opener in the last three years,” Coach Stephen Lopez said. “Our turnovers (25) really hurt us.”
In the second game of the tournament, the Badgers ran into the hot shooting Selma Bears (6-2), who crushed the Badgers 81-39. Selma led 40-23 at the half, and outscored the Badgers 31-6 in the third quarter. The Selma perimeter shooters were 10 of 21 from beyond the arc.
Cross followed his monster performance against Kingsburg scoring a team high 15 points and 16 rebounds. McLean had 11 points and eight rebounds.
“We played a very good team,” Lopez said. “We didn’t get the bench scoring that we needed. We also had starters that didn’t contribute offensively, and we had 28 turnovers. You can’t compete against a team like Selma when you turn the ball over that much.”
Toads edge Badgers by one - 42-41
The Horned Toads of Coalinga beat the Badgers 42-41 in the third game of the tourney on Dec. 12. A last second shotfor the win from Tristan Eames fell short. The game had to be moved to the old Viking gym as the rains took their toll on Kingsburg’s main gym. Despite playing early in a cold gym, the Badgers responded with a solid defensive effort.
“We had our worst shooting game of the year,” Lopez said. “We had fewer turnovers, but their three-pointers really hurt us. Overall, it was a strong effort. It was great having better bench scoring, and Dylon (Rounsivill) had his best game of the year (seven points).”
Like other tournament games Yosemite won the inside game but were outshot on the perimeter. Coalinga (2-2) connected on nine 3-point shots with YHS hitting only two. Yosemite again dominated inside holding a 35-25 edge on the boards. Cross led YHS with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Aaron Bausch had 10 points and led YHS with five assists.
The Badgers and Toads were tied 19-19 at the half, with Coalinga hitting five 3-pointers. YHS led 30-27 at the end of the third. The Toads hit key threes in the fourth period.
Badgers get first win of season over Kerman
Yosemite saved the best for last putting it all together Saturday in the last game of the tournament defeating North Sequoia League rival Kerman 67-63. The Lions came into the contest with a 7-2 record. Yosemite pulled away in the fourth quarter to notch their first win of the season.
It was Cross again, leading the team with 26 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks and two steals.
“They didn’t have an all-tournament team, but Kade certainly made his presence felt at this tournament,” Lopez said.
“Tristan (Eames) really stepped it up,”added Lopez. “He did it on both ends of the floor. We needed his shooting but he also made big plays on defense.”
Eames had a career high 22 points on 10 of 16 from the floor, along with seven steals.
“When we execute our offense properly and minimalism turnovers, we will get wins,” Lopez said. “Kerman is a solid team that will contend for a league title.”
Lopez was also impressed with the play of Alex Williams.
“Alex may not have huge numbers but he is playing lots of different positions. He played solid D and really makes us flexible on the defensive end. We got five key points from Alex that really helped.”
Lopez felt his team really progressed throughout the tournament and feels good about the team’s direction.
“We really stepped up our last two games with everyone playing together.”
The last two games show the pieces may be falling into place for the Badgers as they prepare for league play. The tourney showcased who left the tournament averaging 21.3 points, 14.3 rebounds, and three blocks per game
“I put in a lot of work over the summer,” Cross said. “I hit the weights and worked on my shooting.”
It has certainly paid off. According to MaxPreps.com, Cross currently leads the Central Section in rebounds at 14per game and is fifth in scoring.
“The four players ahead of Kade in scoring are point guards,” Lopez said. “It’s been an amazing start for him.”
The Badger front line continues to be the strength of the team. Along with Cross, McLean and Lassos pulled down 6.8 and 6.3 rebounds respectively.
Sophomore Eames added scoring punch averaging 10.5 per game and senior Aaron Bausch led the team with 5.3 assists per game. Bausch and Eames often shared time at point and the combination worked well.
“We competed in every game,” Lopez said. “We need more scoring from the perimeter and less turnovers. Those can be fixed. I’m really happy about our inside play. We are ahead of where we were last year and will continue to get better. I am really excited about the rest of the season.
The Badgers play at Strathmore Friday night, and host Selma at 5 p.m. Saturday. The team will play in the Monte Vista Christian tournament Dec. 29 - 31, and return home to host Sierra Pacific at 6 p.m., Jan. 3.