The Yosemite High boys basketball team (4-15, 0-1 NSL) traveled to Tollhouse Jan. 12 for it’s North Sequoia League opener against the Sierra Chieftains (10-7, 1-0 NSL), losing 73-64.
Yosemite got off to a strong start against Sierra leading 22-15 at the end of the first quarter, but Sierra turned it around in the second quarter outscoring YHS 23-14 and went to halftime up 38-36.
In what has been a pattern this season, YHS was outscored in the third quarter 15-9, but the Badgers made it close in the fourth quarter. With less than 30 seconds left and down by three points, junior shooting guard Paul Antonis missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game.
Antonis scored a team-high 25 points on 9 of 18 shooting, while hitting a season-high six 3-pointers. He also had four steals. Antonis has been on a tear - In his last 5 games he has averaged 23 points per game.
“Paul had one of his best games this season,” Coach Erik Peterson said. “He is so reliable out on the perimeter.”
Senior point guard Cannon Eames had 13 points and a season-high 8 assists.
“Cannon had a solid game at point,” Peterson said. “He had 7 assists in just the first half and is really becoming a good ball distributor. He runs our offense and will be our focal point.” Eames also had two 3-pointers and 2 steals.
Center Christian Rold had 8 points and led YHS with 6 rebounds. Troy Fite had 6 points and 5 rebounds, while Ty Peterson had 5 points and 4 rebounds.
It was the fifth close loss in a row for the Badgers, losing by less than 10 points.
Pre-league loss to Mariposa
In preparation for the league opener, the Badgers went to Mariposa on Jan. 9 to play the Grizzlies (12-4, 2-0 SL), losing 82-74.
Mariposa has won four straight Southern League titles and were Sac-Joaquin Section champions in the 2015-16 season.
The first quarter at Mariposa was a shootout, with YHS jumping out to an 8-0 lead with Antonis hitting two 3-pointers. Mariposa answered with guard Devon Acker-James connecting on four 3-pointers but the Badgers held on to a 22-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Grizzlies pulled away in the second and third quarters leading 59-47 at the end of the third. Early into the fourth quarter it looked like a blowout. Mariposa built a 73-55 lead with 5 minutes left to play. Peterson installed a press and YHS went on a 14-2 run and were down 75-69 with 1:58 left. It was as close as YHS would get as the Grizzlies, behind Jaq Quinn’s six kept the Badgers at bay.
Antonis again led YHS with 19 points including four 3-pointers. Eames had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Ty Peterson, now playing at power forward, was close to a double-double with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Sophomore guard Owen Bazzar had 8 points and senior forward Brian Mularkey had 7. Rold led YHS with 10 rebounds.
Both the Mariposa and Sierra gyms are small and the crowds are loud, making it tough on visiting teams.
“We had a couple more close games this week,” said Coach Peterson. “It is a little frustrating because we are usually right there at the end. We have played well but haven’t been able to pull one out. We have to play better in the third quarter.”
Eames sets school 3-point record
Eames has connected on ten 3-point shots this season and is now ranked No. 1 all-time at YHS with 141 made 3-point shots in a career. The old record was held by Justin Smith’s 140 from 2005 to 2007.
Earlier this season, Eames moved to No. 2 for steals in the record book with 195, after two steals against Sierra. He should break the rcord by the end of the season as he is quickly approaching Rael Lang’s career record of 207 steals set from 1988-1991.
Badgers at Liberty and Washington Union
Yosemite plays at Liberty (13-6, 0-1 NSL) on Wednesday and Friday the team travels to Washington Union (7-12, 0-1 NSL).