The 2016-2017 Yosemite basketball season has to be one of the more emotional and tumultuous basketball seasons in recent memory. The boys season wrapped up with Yosemite losing their first round D-IV contest to eventual finalist Madera South 64-52 on Feb. 22. The team finished with a respectable 16-11 record and 7-3 in the North Sequoia League, good third place. It was the second straight playoff appearance for YHS.
It was a great year for the Badger JV boys. Head coaches Andy and Charlie Medley led the program to a 19-4 record overall and went 8-1 for an NSL title.
The season was marred with the passing of girls JV team captain and point guard Shania Costella and the late season resignation of boys Head Coach Aaron Eames. On top of that boys team leader senior point guard Tristan Eames went down with a knee injury against Liberty on Feb. 10, missing two key NSL contests and the playoffs.
Badger basketball banquet
The Badger boys held their season ending banquet Monday night with interim Head Coach Erik Peterson presiding. The team honored its seniors and Peterson detailed the many accolades from this season.
Senior point guard Tristan Eames was named first teaAll-NSL for the second straight season. Eames, a four-year starter departs as one of the greatest players in Yosemite basketball history. Eames leaves as the No. 3 all-time leader in assists and steals. Tristan just missed the coveted career 1,000 point club with 931. Eames, the team captain, was instrumental in resurrecting the boys programs in both football and basketball.
Senior Peter McLean was named second team All-NSL. McLean also leaves as the top rebounder in Yosemite history at 788. McLean’s 23 rebounds against Minarets on Dec. 15 is No. 2 all-time in a single game. He averaged 9.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. His leadership, maturity, and consistency were a big part of the team’s success.
Junior shooting guard Cannon Eames was voted second team All-NSL. Eames led YHS with 21.3 points per game, 49 3-pointers made and 62 steals. He now owns four top three Badger all-time marks: 3-points shots in a game vs. Woodlake on Dec. 3 (Tied for No. 1), 3-points shots in a season and career (59 and 131 both No. 2), and career steals (159 - No. 3).
Other awards included junior center Ben Negley named first team All-NSL defense. Negley had a breakout year averaging 9.8 points and 10.3 rebounds. Seniors Trevor Peter and Alex Williams were named Academic All-NSL along with sophomore Tyler Matyshock and Negley. YHS scholar athletes (3.75 GPA or higher are McLean, Negley, Peter and Matyshock).
Ode to Coach Eames
After the Union victory Eames resigned from the program. It caught many by surprise. I will miss Coach Eames. Remember, he took over a program in disarray after incessant parental pressure forced out former head coach Steve Lopez in mid-2014.
He brought the team together and began rebuilding youth programs. He welcomed the players back who left the program. Eames and his capable assistant Erik Peterson guided the team to 19 and 16 wins respectively and two straight playoff appearances the last two seasons.
Eames hired the Medleys. Eames brought up 4 JV starters who made a huge difference at the end of the season. He could have brought them up earlier but he wanted the JV to ‘come together as a team, learn to win, and take home a title.’ Mission accomplished. The man knows how to coach and what it takes to win. Just look up at the gym titles. Eames’s teams won league titles in four different sports. He deserves respect for his accomplishments.
The future of Yosemite boy’s basketball looks very bright however. The championship JV boys will be the core of the 2017-2018 team. They know the dedication it takes to be league champions. The team will be strong in the paint (Tyler Matyshock, Ben Negley, Ty Peterson and Christian Rold) and from beyond the arc (Dylan Allen, Noah Allen, Paul Antonis and Cannon Eames). Sophomore point guard Jaeden Pierce is a leader with a pass-first mentality.
Keep your coaching staff
A memo to the Yosemite High administration: You don’t have to go outside the Mountain Area to hire some awesome basketball coaches. They are already here. Keep what you have. The trio of Erik Peterson, Andy and Charley Medley are your best bets for the future.
The Medleys need no introduction. Charlie was one of the greatest players in YHS history. Andy played under Gary Blate and Kevin Shaw. They have great basketball minds and their team had a great spree de corps. They coached the JV team to a title. The JV team played as a team with a pass-first mentality.
Peterson has been a long time assistant under Blate, coached JV girls, and now the varsity boys. He is a defensive specialist and an excellent organizer. Peterson had both of the Medleys on the bench against Madera South. He let Charlie and Andy have complete game input. Peterson will be an excellent mentor to the Medleys who are young in coaching experience. This is a great team that gets along and will continue the momentum started by Aaron Eames.
If basketball parents agree I would express your feelings to the powers that be. Many of you know the Yosemite High switchboard number by heart. Make that call and help keep the program moving in the right direction.