Yosemite High’s girls basketball team is 5-3: How they got there and what’s next

The Yosemite High School Girls Basketball team is riding a nice wave of momentum after winning three in a row to take home first place in the Paris Twins Classic tournament at Piedmont High School.

Paris Twins Classic

The Badgers won the championship game on Dec. 8 against the hosts of the eight-team tournament team by a score of 54-51.

Yosemite’s Grace Fries led all scorers with 22 points while Lilly Graffigna added 11 points and 9 assists. Forward Sophie McGoldrick pulled down 15 rebounds.

Piedmont was ranked No. 1 in Division IV and has been a perennial power in the state since being the top-ranked team in California in the early 2000s when Courtney and Ashley Paris - the twins that the tournament was named after - played there before going on to Oklahoma University and WNBA.

The road to the championship game featured victories over a pair of Bay Area schools.

In the first round of the tournament on Dec. 6, the Badgers coasted to an 81-24 blowout victory over Oakland’s Castlemont High School. Fries had 12 points, Graffigna 10 points and 9 assists and junior Kaylee Anderson had 10 points.

Every Badger scored against Castlemont.

Then came a more tightly contested affair against Urban High School out of San Francisco on Dec. 7, which the Badgers won 56-44. In that game, McGoldrick had 12 points and nine rebounds, Graffigna 11 points and 10 assists and junior center scored 11 points.

Senior center Hailey Rich was named tournament most valuable player, with Fries and Graffigna garnering all-tournament recognition.

Mills Tournament

Yosemite High’s first taste of tournament play was more of a struggle than their most recent outing.

The Badgers opened the Mills Tournament on Nov. 28 against the hosts St. Francis.

Yosemite High kept it close early on, holding a 15-14 lead after the first quarter and going into the half down 28-25. But with Rich sidelined due to a thumb injury, the inside game suffered in the second half. The Badgers fell to St. Francis 66-53.

Fries scored 28 points to lead the Badgers, with Courtney Hart pulling down 10 rebounds.

St. Francis went on to win the tournament and boasts a 5-0 record for the season.

The second game in the tournament pinned Yosemite against Gunn High School out of Palo Alto on Nov. 29. The Badgers jumped out to a 26-0 first quarter lead and cruised to a 64-41 victory.

The 6-foot-1 junior Hart led the way with 26 points and 16 rebounds with Fries adding 17 points.

To close out the Mills Tournament, the Badgers squared off against Lowell High School out of San Francisco on Nov. 30.

The Badgers had foul and turnover issues and were not able to recover, falling to Lowell 54-44. Fries and Hart led the team with 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Non-tournament play

Yosemite’s season began at home against Clovis on Nov. 20.

The team started well and had the lead after the first quarter, but fouls and turnovers combined with 1-for-19 shooting from three-point range doomed the Badgers to a 53-40 defeat.

As of Monday, Clovis was undefeated with an 8-0 record and sat atop the section.

The second game of the season had the Badgers hosting Fresno High School on Nov. 26 and was the most thrilling of their first eight games.

It was a back-and-forth affair, even with the Badgers struggling to get going from deep and three starters fouling out.

It came down to sophomore Jenna Kurz hitting a clutch corner three to send the game into overtime.

Kurz continued her hot shooting into overtime. She scored seven of the team’s nine points in the extra period while the Warriors only managed four points as a team. Yosemite won 63-58.

What’s Next

The Badgers continue tournament play this week with four Clovis Tournament games: Paso Robles High School on Wednesday at 5:50 p.m., Liberty High School at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sanger High School at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and Clovis East High School at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.