Lady Badgers open league play Friday at Sierra

The Yosemite High School girls basketball team (9-7) prepares for its North Sequoia League opener at Sierra Friday against the defending league and CIF Central Section D-III champs. In preparation for the NSL opener, the Lady Badgers played in the Buchanan Tournament in Fresno last weekend, winning three games and losing one.

On Jan. 8, the Badger opened with Kingsburg and were behind at halftime 22-19 as the Vikings were able to strike from long distance making five 3-pointers. In the third period, Yosemite took control by scoring 20 points on the way to a 57-42 victory.

Junior Allie Stearns led the Badgers with 18 points and 8 steals while seniors Taylor Burrall and Veronica Miller had 17 and 10 points respectively. Senior point guard Mattaya Brown had 8 assists.

The next day Yosemite faced county rival Madera and started strong before succumbing to the pressure of the Coyotes physical defense which resulted in 26 Badger turnovers. The final score was 56-37, and the points allowed would work against the Badgers when the pool champion was determined from the three teams which finished 2-1.

Burrall had a sold game against Madera with 12 points and 11 rebounds while adding 7 blocked shots. The 6-foot-3 center currently leads the section in blocks, is 5th in the state and 19th overall in the country in only her second year playing basketball.

On Jan. 10, Yosemite faced Central, a team which had beaten Madera in the first round by more than 20 points. The Badgers jumped out to 11-3 lead after the first quarter and held on for a 38-33 victory.

Central, a school with more than 3,000 students, was the third TRAC (considered the strongest league in the section) team the Badgers have faced this season, along with Clovis East and Buchahan. The Badgers won all three of those games.

Brown led Badger scorers with 14 points while Miller scored 12 and had 19 rebounds, one rebound shy of the school record she now shares with 2011 graduate Sidney Fipps (currentlhy playing at UC Davis). Burrall controlled the paint with 9 blocked shots.

The victory over Central caused a logjam in the four team Pool B, with three teams having 2-1 records (Yosemite, Central, Madera). Using the differential of points allowed, Central advanced to the finals while the Badgers were pitted against Sanger. The Badgers inside game was to much for the Apaches as a 32-20 Yosemite halftime advantage grew into a 53-39 victory. Burrall and Miller both had double/doubles with Burrall having 14 points and 10 rebounds along with 7 blocked shots while Miller contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds. Stearns added 11 points.

At Sierra Friday

The games on Friday loom big as all the Yosemite girls and boys teams travel to Sierra for league opening games - the boys JV game is at at 3:30 p.m., girls JV at 5, girls varsity 6:30, and the boys varsity tipping-off at 8 p.m.

The Sierra girls have been elevated to D-II after winning last year’s D-III Section Championship, joining Yosemite as the only teams under 1,000 students playing in D-II. The next D-II lowest enrollment school has twice the enrollment of Sierra and Yosemite.

The Chieftains are currently ranked No. 2 in the division while the Badgers are No. 5 and Madera No. 4.

JV team gets two wins

The Yosemite Girls JV team played two games Jan. 10, beating San Joaquin Memorial 32-24 behind Carly Baldwin’s 15 points and then topping Mariposa 30-8 with Katie Long scoring 10 points.

Former Yosemite Girls basketball players were active last weekend with 2013 graduate Dahlia Lopez, a 6-foot-2 center, helping Reedley College upset six year League Champion Fresno City College. Lopez led the Tigers with 11 rebounds and had 6 points.

2014 graduate Sierra Dominici came off the bench for the FCC Rams.

2011 graduate Sydney Fipps is the leading scorer at UC Davis which is 1-1 in the Big West Conference.

- Yosemite High correspondent