Sports

Yosemite handily defeats Kerman and Chowchilla

The Yosemite High girls basketball team (14-8, 5-0 North Sequoia League) remained on top of the NSL standings with two victories last week. The Badgers went undefeated in the first round of league play, and are one game ahead of Sierra (17-3, 4-1 NSL).

Yosemite and Sierra squared-off Wednesday, in a game that will most likely decide if the Badgers can win the league title outright, or be co-champions with Sierra. The game score was not available at press time but can be seen at sierrstar.com.

In the first meeting of the teams at Sierra on Jan. 16, Yosemite pulled off the 38-36 upset over the Chieftains, who at the time were 12-2, and ranked No. 2 in the Central Section D-II. To get the win, Yosemite knows it will have to play tough defense combined with balanced scoring to beat Sierra a second time.

The Badgers string of 11 straight outright or shared league titles was broken last season by Sierra which went on to win the D-III Central Section Championship before being moved up to D-II this season.

Both teams play a slate of five second round league games before entering the playoffs so the winner of league means a lot when it comes to section ‘seeding,’ and ultimately getting home CIF playoff games. Last season Yosemite traveled to Bakersfield twice within a week for playoffs.

Last Friday the Badgers traveled to Kerman (10-10, 1-4 NSL) and the Lady Badger’s stifling defense gave the team a 24-6 score at the half, and ultimately a 52-22 victory over the Lions.

Senior point guard Mattaya Brown led the way with 14 points and 7 steals while senior Veronica Miller had a double/double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor Burrall had 10 points, and controlled the paint with 5 blocked shots. According to Maxpreps.com, Burrall now has 127 blocked shots on the season, placing her in the No. 1 spot state-wide (all divisions), two rebounds ahead of Cydnee Kinslow of Freedom High School in Oakley.

On Jan. 28, the team traveled to Chowchilla (7-12, 0-5 NSL) to take on the Redskins. Yosemite jumped out to a 17-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and stretched that to a 28-12 score at halftime. Liberally playing through the roster in the second half, the Badgers won 52-40.

Junior Allie Stearns lead Badger scorers with 14 points while Miller and Burrall added 11 and 10 points respectively. Brown had 8 assists and 8 steals to go with her 5 points.

“The team has won the four games since the Sierra game by an average of more than 20 points so our players knew they have to work hard at practices to prepare for the rematch on Wednesday,” Coach Gary Blate said. “They have accepted that challenge, the team has continued to improve and the game, win or lose,will prepare us to do well in the playoffs.”

This Friday the Badgers head to Liberty - Madera Ranchos with the JV game at 5:30 p.m., and the varsity at 6:30. The boys varsity game is at 8 p.m..

- Yosemite High correspondent

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