The 2018-2019 Yosemite High boys basketball team looks to rebound from a disappointing 6-22 record last season when the Badgers were decimated by key injuries and a transfer.
This season should be different. Second-year head coach Erik Peterson and staff are putting together a tall and athletic team that should give opposing teams fits.
“We feel really good about our upcoming season,” Peterson said. “We had excellent preseason preparation with a strong spring and summer.”
The Badgers went 13-3 in the Liberty (Madera Ranchos) Summer League playing against Division IV and V schools.
“We felt the Liberty tournament was great for us because we got to play a lot of basketball games,” Peterson said. “We learned a lot while playing a number of schools that we will see in the regular season and hopefully the playoffs.”
A number of football players joined the team after the playoff loss to Caruthers two weeks ago. “It will take time for our football players to get into basketball shape,” Peterson said. “We are working on conditioning and defense, but our main focus is on basketball fundamentals. Our philosophy will focus on pressuring every possession along with an up-tempo offense. To play effectively on both ends of the floor requires a team to be in shape.”
Peterson and former Badger head coach Steve Lopez will coach the varsity. Luke Blate and Charley Medley will coach the JV. Ty Peterson will assist the JVs for the first half of the season. Peterson was a starter on last year’s varsity team.
The Badgers get started with a home game against Tranquillity on Wednesday, Nov. 28. JV start is at 5 p.m. and Varsity at 6:30. Prior to the game, YHS will host a Mountain Area junior high round-robin tournament. Coarsegold, Oak Creek and Wasuma will play each other in 20-minute games starting at 3:30.
The Badgers will play in three preseason tournaments: Reedley (Nov. 29-Dec. 1), Liberty (Dec. 13-15) and Mendota (Dec. 26-29). “These are tournaments that have schools that are mostly D-IV and D-V,” Peterson said. “They will be competitive.”
The anticipated starting five of center-junior Nathaniel Mulkey (6 feet 4 inches tall), power forward-senior Christian Rold (6-3), forward-senior Hayden Lewis (6-5), shooting guard-senior Paul Antonis (6-4) and point guard-junior Owen Bazzar (6-2) are taller and more athletic than last season. Except for Mulkey, all have varsity experience.
Antonis was the second-leading scorer for YHS last season with 15.4 points per game. Antonis last season set the school record for 3-pointers made in a season with 83. Antonis was third on the team in rebounding averaging at 4.4 per game. Antonis can also score going to the basket.
The front line of Mulkey, Rold and Lewis has the size and athleticism to control the paint. Rold is a defensive specialist who scored 7 points per game and was second in rebounding last season at 6.4 per game. Lewis is an effective shooter from the outside as well as in the paint. Mulkey brings high energy on every play. “Mulkey runs the floor so well,” Peterson said. “Nathaniel will pick up a lot of points off missed shots because he gets good rebounding position. He also works hard on defense.”
Bazzar was brought up to varsity early last season and gained valuable minutes. Peterson likes his leadership ability and decision-making skills. “Owen is a good leader who takes control on the court. He is smart and very coachable,” Peterson said.
Key backups include senior forward Dylan Allen, sophomore guard Holden Eames, senior guard John Nisar, senior guard Jeroe Solon and junior guard Jackson Thearle. “Allen will probably be the first player off the bench,” Peterson said. “Dylan is a great shooter and defends well. He is a smart player and brings great energy.”
Eames will back up Bazzar at the point but is a natural shooting guard who can provide key points off the bench.
YHS boys basketball schedule
Fowler at Reedley Tournament
at Fresno Christian
Coalinga at Liberty Tournament
Parlier at Mendota Tournament
at McLane (MLK Showcase)
at Washington Union
Chowchilla (Senior Night)