Badger boys start season 2-2, looking for faster starts

Yosemite’s Paul Antonis launches a 3-pointer last season at Washington Union. Antonis started the 2018-19 season earning all-tournament in Reedley.
Yosemite’s Paul Antonis launches a 3-pointer last season at Washington Union. Antonis started the 2018-19 season earning all-tournament in Reedley. Sierra Star archive

The Yosemite High boys basketball team kicked off the 2018/2019 season going 2-2 in its first week. The Badgers defeated Tranquillity in their opener 69-43 in Oakhurst on Nov. 28. The next three days the Badgers traveled to the Reedley Tournament, opening with a 64-61 win over Fowler before losing to Reedley 62-47 and Granite Hills of Porterville 52-43. Senior shooting guard Paul Antonis was named all-tournament.

Overall, head coach Erik Peterson was pleased with the first four games. “We have played well at times,” Peterson said. “Overall, we are still making adjustments as a team. We have had moments where we are very good but we need to get a faster start.”

The Badgers outscored Tranquillity in every quarter. YHS took a 35-21 lead into halftime and never looked back. Holden Eames led YHS with 18 points. Hayden Lewis had 14 points and eight rebounds. Point guard Owen Bazzar led YHS with nine assists.

“We played really well for our first game,” Peterson said. “Our up-tempo offense finally got on track in the second quarter. Holden Eames was a big spark off the bench. It was a game with balanced scoring. All nine players scored. Christian Rold had 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting and pulled down eight boards. Other scorers: Antonis 11; Jeroe Solon 4 (with 4 assists); Bazzar 3; Jackson Thearle 3; Dylan Allen 2; Clayton Elrod 2.

Reedley Tournament

The Badgers overcame a 38-20 Fowler lead at halftime by outscoring the Redcats 44-23 in the second half. YHS tied the game with 4:36 to play, pulled away, and held on to a 64-61 win. “The team picked up the intensity in the second half,” Peterson said. “It was the difference.”

Antonis led YHS with 22 points, while connecting on three 3-pointers. Eames had 14 points, five rebounds and led YHS with four assists. Bazzar had nine points and led YHS with six rebounds. Solon had a strong performance off the bench with eight points, but his defense really counted. “Jeroe had a big game for us off the bench,” Peterson said. “He shut down their high scorer in the second half.”

Reedley led YHS 19-14 after the first quarter but the Badgers rallied to tie it 25-25 at halftime. Reedley dominated the third quarter 25-12 to take control.

“We played a very average game in the first half and played even worse in the second,” Peterson said. “There were too many mental breakdowns on offense.”

Lewis had 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Antonis and Eames each had seven points. Antonis had four rebounds and three steals. Allen, Nathaniel Mulkey and Rold each had four points.

The Badgers closed out the Reedley Tournament with a 52-43 loss to Granite Hills. It was the tale of two halves. The Grizzlies led 12-3 after both teams played a sluggish first quarter. Granite Hills outscored YHS 20-10 and led 32-13 at halftime. The Badgers made a game of it in the second half. YHS was down 40-27 at the end of the third and outscored the Grizzlies 16-12 in the fourth but it wasn’t enough.

Antonis played his best game of the week with 16 points, six assists, six steals and five rebounds.

Eames had 11 points and three steals. Other YHS scoring: Lewis 5; Allen 4; Bazzar 3; Mulkey and Solon each 2.

This week

YHS plays at Fresno Christian (0-1) on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. There is no JV game. YHS will then host two home games: Reedley on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. and Firebaugh (2-1) on Dec. 8 starting at 1 p.m. “We get to try and avenge our loss against Reedley,” Peterson said. “I am confident we will play better at home. They are in our division so a win is important.”

JV takes opener

The Badger JV defeated Tranquillity 47-17 in their 2018-2019 home opener. After trailing 11-10 after the first quarter the Badgers poured it on outscoring the Tigers 37-6 the rest of the way to win in a blowout.

Nathan Kingsland led YHS with 11 points and 5 steals. Drake Airey had 8 points and 5 assists. Ethan Coffman had 7 points, 3 steals, and led YHS with 7 assists. Jesse Swope had 6 points and led YHS with 10 rebounds. John Nguyen had 5 points and 3 rebounds.