The Yosemite High girls varsity basketball team (18-6. 5-0 NSL) has won outright or shared the North Sequoia League Championship 13 of the past 15 years and the team looks to make it 14 this season, having ended the first round of NSL play undefeated.
Last year the Kerman Lions shared the league championship after beating the Badgers in the Yosemite gym in the last league game of the season after the Badgers beat the Lions in Kerman in round one.
Last Friday’s showdown in Oakhurst was billed to be another close game between the two best girls teams in the NSL - but any plans that Kerman had to pull-off another win on the Badger’s home court, never had time to materialize as Yosemite’s defense and fast-moving offense all but finished the game in the first quarter with a 21-3 outburst.
The Lions did not score in double digits in any quarter of the game and Hurt was held to just one field goal (7 points total), as the Badgers finished the first round of league play with an unblemished 5-0 record after the convincing 55-20 victory.
In the team’s five league games, it has collectively outscored its opponents 303-175.
The Badgers leading scorer is junior Grace Fries, although after a blazing start to the season that had her ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 9 nationally for 3-point shots made, she has been in a shooting slump the past two games - Although she has remained at No. 2 in the state for 3-pointers made (93) behind Allison Ayala of Covina High (146), and is No. 10 in the nation. Ayala leads the nation.
Against Kerman, Fries was just 2 of 11 from outside the arch, and was also under her average in the Jan. 23 game against Chowchilla.
“I’ve been shooting well in practice but that for some reason hasn’t carried over to the games,” Fires said. “It will come back,” the confident Fries said.
Almost as if it was scripted, with Fries hitting just two 3-pointers against Kerman, two fellow juniors, Hailey Rich and Sophie McGoldrick, stepped-up each hitting 4 of 4 of their long-range shots in the first quarter.
In the second quarter Yosemite was 6 of 7 from the free throw line as the Badgers extended its lead, leading at halftime 35-5 lead.
All 5 of Kerman’s first half points were scored by 6-foot-1 center Morgan Turner.
Fries finished the game with 16 points and Rich 14 as Yosemite substituted frequently with the large lead.
Senior post player Siena Oswald hauled down 11 rebounds.
Yosemite beats Chowchilla 62-36
On Jan. 23, the Badgers hosted Chowchilla which was currently ranked as the Central Section’s No. 1 D-V team. The Tribe was only down 12-10 to Yosemite after the first quarter as Fries was held scoreless but the Badgers scored 22 in the second quarter to go up 34-17 at halftime.
Yosemite continued to outscore Chowchilla in the final two quarters, ending the game with a 62-36 win.
Hailey Rich led the Badgers in scoring with 18 points, Fries 15 and Oswald just missed a double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Senior Allson Bernardi had 9 points and junior point guard Lilly Graffigna had 8 points and 6 assists. Graffigna is No. 4 in the Central Serction is assists (5.8 a game).Maryjane Jones of East Bakersfield leads the section with a 7 per game average.
Yosemite’s league opponents had a cumulative pre-league record of 56-25 and, except for the games with Yosemite, have been very competitive with each other.
The North Sequoia League standings after round 1 has Yosemite on top (5-0), followed by Sierra (3-2), Kerman (3-2), Washington Union (2-3), Chowchilla (1-4) and Liberty (1-4).
Senior Night Friday
On Jan. 30, the Badgers played Sierra at home, and on Friday, the Yosemite basketball teams will honor their seniors before home games with Liberty.
The final home game of the regular season will be against Washington Union, a team that has given the Badgers it’s biggest league challenge this season, with Yosemite winning by just 5 points (55-50) in Easton.
Friday’s games: 3:30 p.m. JV girls - 4:30 p.m. JV boys - 6 p.m. varsity girls - 7:30 p.m. varsity boys.
JV team 5-0
The Yosemite girls JV team (17-2, 5-0 NSL), coached by James Andersen, is also on a roll with freshman Britney Allen being the team’s leading scorer.
The JV team crushed Kerman 42-9 and Chowchilla 34-12 last week. Other Badger lopsided scores during the first round of league play have been 40-20 against Washinton Union, 48-17 over Liberty and a 61-20 win over Sierra. The accumulative score of the five league games for the JV team is 225-78 (an average game score of 45-16).
“I knew this would be a special team,” Coach Andersen said. “I have had the pleasure to coach these girls in AAU since the fifth grade. This team knows each other and plays for each other. My goal is to always play all my team and we have been able to accomplish that for most of the season. We are on our way to winning league, which was our goal since this summer.”
Allen scored 19 against Chowchilla and 17 against Kerman.
Keylee Andersen scored 9 points in the Chowchilla game and 8 against Kerman. Jenna Kurtz added 7 against Kerman.
“Britney has had a special season,” Andersen said. “She is our team leader in so many ways. Britney and this team will have a special future.”