After a three-year playoff absence, the Yosemite Badgers boy’s basketball team got the No. 10 seed in the Central Section D-IV playoffs. The Badgers (19-9, 7-3) travel to Coalinga Tuesday, to face the No. 7 Horned Toads at 7 p.m..
YHS Coach Aaron Eames guided the 2011-2012 Badger team to the playoffs where they lost to Roosevelt 40-37. The Badgers were a 13-14 team back then.
After a two and a half year stint under Coach Stephen Lopez, the Badgers return to the playoff stage with a talented team.
Coach Jason McFarlin and the Toads have also had a great season - 21-6 overall and undefeated (10-0) in the West Sierra League.
The Toads are on a 13-game winning streak since January, and average nearly 60 points a game. Coalinga spreads the wealth, with not one starter averaging more than 10 points. Blake Wong (9.9) and Sergio Zaragoza (9.1) lead the team in scoring.
Coalinga defeated YHS 61-44 on Dec. 12, at the Kingsburg Tournament. That loss came at the end of a long and tiring tournament for the Badgers - a team not at its best.
The Badgers are a team on a roll, winning four of their last five playoff type games - all close games that went down to the wire.
This isn’t a bad draw although many Badger fans hoped for a first round home playoff game. Maybe the powers that be didn’t think highly of the North Sequoia League and gave YHS a lower seeding.
There are 16 teams playing in D-IV bracket. No doubt Coach McFarlin felt the Toads should have received a higher seed.
This is going to be a difficult task but a Badger road playoff win is doable. It’s going to be a long road trip to the edge of the West Side, but the Badgers travel well. YHS is 7-4 in away games this season.
Remember the Badgers are young. YHS has just one senior, and start two juniors and two sophomores.
Yosemite, while young, has been battle-tested as of late. The Badgers last two games, a 45-40 win at Chowchilla, and the 71-65 loss at Kerman were intense, playoff-type atmospheres. Both gyms were full and loud. YHS was in a position to win at Kerman until the last minute.
The Lions are seeded No. 5 and drew No. 12 Kingsburg in a home game.
The NSL is a far more competitive league than WSL. Many WSL schools are D-V. Only two other schools (Tranquility 19-8, 7-3) and (Mendota 11-15, 7-3) made the playoffs, both in D-V. Coalinga didn’t face teams like Kerman and Union twice per season. The degree of difficulty should serve YHS well.
The North Sequoia League will be well represented in the playoffs. Besides Kerman and YHS in D-IV, Liberty at No. 6, and Sierra is No. 8 will play in D-V, and Washington Union in D-III at No. 13.