The thrilling win over the rival Sierra Chieftains in the opening game of the North Sequoia League campaign two weeks ago gave the Yosemite High School girls basketball team (12-8, 3-0 North Sequoia League) the pole position in the league standing. Two contenders came to the Badgers gym last week with the intent to throw the Yosemite team off track.
First up on Jan. 21 was Liberty High from Madera Ranchos (11-4, 1-1 NSL), looking for its first ever win against Yosemite. The Hawks will still be looking for that win after suffering a 53-33 defeat to the Badgers.
The final score was not indicative of the total domination displayed by the Badgers. Liberty briefly held a 3-2 lead but did not score again in the first half, as the Lady Badgers ended the half with a 32-3 lead.
In the second half Yosemite tempered its ‘close-out’ defense, allowing Liberty to score 30 points.
Playing time was spread throughout the roster with senior point guard Mattaya Brown led the way with 12 points, while juniors Allie Stearns and Jessica Fine each had 9 points. Another junior, Lynette Combs, hit two 3-pointers and had 9 rebounds.
Badgers trounce Panthers
Last Friday’s game featured the Washington Panthers (11-6, 1-2 NSL), a team tied with Yosemite for first place in League coming into the game.
It was clear from the start, who the dominant team was. The Badgers jumped out to a 22-7 first quarter lead and continued to a 34-13 half-time score.
As with Liberty, the Badgers again played through their roster in the second half and finished the game by the commanding score of 62-27.
Senior center Taylor Burrall led the way with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 more blocked shots. Stearns had 13 points and 7 assists, junior Ashlee Harrell 12 points, and senior forward Veronica Miller contributed 10 points. Brown had 4 assists and 5 steals.
“The key to our recent success is the team effort on defense has improved a lot over the course of the season,” Blate said. “We are not fouling as much and our guards are contesting outside shots. Combine this with the shot blocking inside by Taylor (Burrall) and our opponents are having difficulty scoring. If we can keep improving as a team offensively, we can contend for titles.”
Showdown with Sierra Feb. 4
The team played last night (Wednesday) at Chowchilla (7-10, 0-3), and travels to Kerman (10-8, 1-2) Friday.
The Badgers should win both games. Washington Union beat both teams - Chowchilla 37-33, and Kerman, 41-37.
With wins in these games, the Badgers will set up another showdown with Sierra at home on Wednesday, Feb. 4., that could decide the NSL title.
The JV teams play at 5:30 p.m., and the varsity at 7.
Burrall has 118 blocked shots
Yosemite’s 6-foot-3 center Taylor Burrall, in just her second year of playing organized basketball, is currently ranked No. 2 in the state for blocked shots on the season with 118. She is just seven behind 5-foot-11 junior Sierra Houston who plays for High Tech High in Chula Vista. In 20 games this season, Burrall is averaging nearly 6 blocked shots per game.
Burrall is also leading the team in scoring with 230 (11.5 per game average). Miller has 167 points, closely followed by Stearns with 159. Brown leads the team in 3-point shots with 13 on the season. Miller, who has 168 points on the season, is No. 1 in free throws with 39. Miller had an outside chance this season to be the 6th member of the girls 1,000 point club, but that milestone looks out of reach as she would need 209 more points with only seven league games (and probably a couple play-off games) left in the season.
Burrall is the team’s No. 2 rebounder with 152 (7.6 pga), behind Miller’s 174 (8.7 pga).
Brown leads the team in assists with 61 (2.8 pga) followed by Stearns who has 52 (2.6 pga). Brown and Stearns are also leading the team in steals with 66 (3.3 pga), and 62 (3.1 pga).
As a team, the Badgers are averaging 42.4 points, 31.9 rebounds, 11 assists, 12.7 steals, and 7.3 blocked shots per game.
This is Coach Blate‘s 13th season leading one of the most successful programs at Yosemite High. Last season, the team’s string of 11 straight league championships was stopped as Sierra won both its games with Yosemite, placing the Badgers in an unfamiliar spot - second place.
If the team can win-out the balance of league play, they will regain the title. If Sierra beats the Badgers on Feb. 4, depending on the outcome of other league games, Yosemite and Sierra could share the title.