During the Holiday break, the Yosemite High girls basketball team traveled to San Diego to take part in a 16-team tourney of the multi-bracketed Southern California Holiday Prep Classic. The tournament featured 66 schools competing overall including teams from Nevada, Kentucky, Washington, Arizona, Texas and Canada.
All of the Yosemite opponents were D-I schools, the largest enrollment school division in the California CIF (generally public schools over 2,000 students). Yosemite competes in D-II, playing two Divisions over its enrollment (740 students). The Badgers went 2-2 in the competition, losing games to teams with a combined 18-2 record going into the tournament.
The Badgers opened the tournament against Our Lady of Peace, a D-I San Diego school which was 2-6 going into the tournament, but had been within a couple points in three of those losses. The Badgers jumped out to a 11-5 first quarter lead with all five starters scoring and never relinquished the lead in a 33-27 victory.
Taylor Burrall had 10 points and Veronica Miller contributed 11 rebounds. The Badgers defense was stingy never allowing the Our Lady of Peace to score in double digits in any quarter.
The next opponent, Poway of San Diego, was undefeated (10-0) coming into the Yosemite game. The game was a defensive battle in the first half with the score 6-4 at the end of the first quarter with Poway on top and then continuing its lead 13-8 at halftime. Foul trouble, turnovers and poor shooting were a triple whammy for the Badgers in the second half as the final score of 37-20 was not indicative of how close the game was until the final five minutes. No Yosemite player scored in double figures and the team shot 5-26 on two-point shots, and 2-8 on 3-point shots. The team also had 27 turnovers.
Poway is another D-I team ranked No. 5 overall in the San Diego Section (94 teams).
Next up was another formidable opponent, Bella Vista, a team ranked No. 15 in the San Joaquin CIF section (159 schools) with an 8-2 record going into the game with the Badgers - one of those losses to Poway in the first round of the tournament. Bella Vista started three players over 6-foot-1.
The score was 18-18 at halftime but Bella Vista pulled away from the Badgers for a 32-25 win. Once again, no Yosemite player scored in double figures but the defense held the Broncos to seven points in each of the second half quarters. Burrall held her own defensive against the tall front line of Bella Vista, finishing the game with a school record 11 blocks and 10 rebounds.
The final opponent was Downey, a 4,000+ students school from the Southern California section with a 9-4 record going into the game with Yosemite.
The Badgers jumped out to a 29-5 halftime lead, holding their opponent scoreless in the second quarter, coasted to a 44-27 win.
Burrall had 18 points to lead the way for the Badgers.
This week the Lady Badgers (6-6) take on Central Valley competition in the Buchanan Tournament playing Kingsburg at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Madera at 7:30 p.m on Friday, and Central at 11 a.m. Saturday with a later game on Saturday depending on results.
The team travels Tuesday, Jan. 13, to take on Clovis North (varsity game at 6 p.m.) before opening league play on Friday, Jan 16 at rival Sierra.
- Yosemite High correspondent