The Yosemite High girls varsity basketball team hosted their first home playoff game in three years in a CIF Central Section D-II quarter-finals matchup against Selma Feb 26 - and the Badgers did not disappoint the home crowd, defeating the Bears 59-40.
With that victory, the No. 4 seeded Yosemite (19-9) team earned a Tuesday trip to Bakersfield to take on the No. 1 ranked Independence High School Falcons (25-2). The Falcons are ranked No. 6 in the state for D-II schools, and easily defeated No. seed Lemoore 57-33 to advance to Tuesday’s game against Yosemite.
In the Selma game, The Badgers jumped out to a 16-5 first quarter lead behind 8 points by Allie Stearns. Falling behind, the Bears employed a full court press which had some success in the second quarter as Selma outscored Yosemite 18-16 to make the score 32-23 at halftime.
In the second half the Badgers found their way through the press and outscored Selma in both the third and fourth quarters.
The beneficiary of the full court attack was Yosemite center Taylor Burrall who led both teams in scoring with 20 points. Stearns finished with 10 points and Veronica Miller contributed 11.
Burrall had 7 blocks to remain the top shot blocker in the Central Section and No. 2 in blocks in the state with 171 for the year, a school record.
Point guard Mattaya Brown had four assists and five steals and starting forward Ashlee Harrell had a solid game going 2-2 in shooting with 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Selma had won its first playoff game at Madera 53-41 and brought a 19-9 record into the game. The Bears had won the CIF D-III Championship two years ago and lost in the Finals last season, both games against Sierra, and was moved up to D-II by the CIF Central Section competitive equity model (as was Sierra).
Selma High’s enrollment of 1,653 is more than the enrollment of Yosemite (742) and Sierra (521) combined. The No. 1 seed Independence has nearly 2,000 students.
Sierra is the No. 2 seed and hosting No. 3 Redwood (2,058 students) in the other D-II semi-final game. The winners of the semi-finals will play for the Central Section Championship at 6 p.m., Friday, at Selland Arena in Fresno.
The Yosemite girls traveled twice to Bakersfield last season in the playoffs as the No. 5 seed, beating No. 4 Ridgeview and then losing to No. 1 Garces.
In the 2011 playoffs, with Sydnee Fipps (UC Davis) leading the way, the No. 4 Badgers upset the No. 1 team Garces in Bakersfield, and went on to Selland Arena.
Independence High School is a two hour drive from Oakhurst: 99 south to Panama Lane - turn right (west) on Panama Lane, and then left on Old River Road.
- Yosemite High School Correspondent