Sports

Three Yosemite High seniors named NSL girls basketball co-MVPs

From left, Grace Fries, Sophie McGoldrick and Lilly Graffigna. The three Yosemite High School basketball players were honored as co-MVPs of the North Sequoia League.
From left, Grace Fries, Sophie McGoldrick and Lilly Graffigna. The three Yosemite High School basketball players were honored as co-MVPs of the North Sequoia League. Courtesy of Gary Blate

Yosemite High School’s Grace Fries is now a two-time North Sequoia League MVP, but this time around she is sharing the honor with two of her teammates.

Fries, Sophie McGoldrick and Lilly Graffigna were all named NSL co-MVPs for their contributions to a season that saw the Badgers go undefeated in NSL play (9-0) for the second consecutive year and advance to the final of the Central Section Division II tournament, where they lost to Bakersfield.

“Going undefeated in the league for two years, it became evident that there was more than one player responsible for that,” said head coach Gary Blate. “(Fries) was the returning MVP. She got it last year and she deserved it, but this year we were a little more balanced and those three really stood out.”

All three are seniors and played vital roles in the team’s three consecutive league titles and pair of undefeated seasons.

Fries scored 1,491 points in her four year career and holds the school record for 3-point shots made with 258. This season, she led the team in scoring with an average of 14.6 points per game and was also a force on the defensive end where she averaged nearly two steals per game.

Graffigna was one of only two players in the Section to have more than 200 assists this season and also averaged about 8 points a game. And the recipient of many of those assists was McGoldrick who averaged about 10 points a game and was the Badgers most dominant rebounding presence, averaging 8.3 per game.

Blate said the decision of the league to go with three MVPs this season is directly correlated to his team’s balanced scoring attack.

“We had a lot of options as to what we could do, both inside and outside, fast and slow,” he said. “Having all of them for four years, we developed an effective attack utilizing their individual skills.”

Along with the MVP honors, the three seniors will also be playing in the Central Area All-Star Game on Saturday, May 11 at 6:00 p.m. at Bullard High School.

Blate said Graffinga is moving on to play basketball at Fresno City College. McGoldrick will be going on to UC Berkeley but will not be playing basketball. Fries remains undecided.

The coach said that while making up the co-MVPs’ production may prove difficult in the coming seasons, he remains confident that his team will continue to be competitive.

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