The Yosemite High varsity (8-6) and JV (4-2) basketball teams, after taking a much needed 10-day break, went on the road to play an old foe Dec. 10 - the Grizzlies of Mariposa.
Both the varsity and JV teams squads squandered leads to lose two close contests. The Badger varsity was defeated 70-66, and the JV team lost by one, 55-54.
“This was a good test,” varsity coach Aaron Eames said. “It is a tough place to play. The game was close all the way. We let a good lead get away. We can’t let teams score 70 points on us and expect to win.”
The Grizzlies (6-5) always prove a tough test. The team won the Southern League of the Sac-Joaquin Section title in 2014.
The home court of Mariposa is small, cramped, and loud. If you didn’t find a seat by halftime of the JV game, you might have had to stand. The Grizzly faithful usually pack their gym, and all fans sit on the same side.
The holiday layoff was evident for both teams in the first quarter as turnovers and poor shooting plagued both teams. The Grizzlies put together a 9-2 run and led 11-10 after one.
The pace picked up in the second quarter. YHS center Kade Cross got four quick, but Mariposa held a five point lead (22-16) with 3:28 left before half. Badger point guard Tristan Eames went to work scoring seven points, while Cross blocked three shots in the quarter to put Yosemite up at halftime 30-29.
Cross had 10 points and six boards in the first half.
After the break, the Badgers got off to a fast start and built their largest lead of the night, 46-34 on a Cannon Eames 3-pointer.
The Grizzlies clawed back going on a 9-3 run. Mariposa started to find their range on the perimeter with Noah Rockwood hitting two 3s in the quarter. Mariposa closed out the third quarter on a 19-6 run and led 52-49 going into the fourth quarter.
Mariposa bolted to a 56-49 lead with Rockwood hitting another 3-pointer. YHS fought back with Cross getting four points down low followed by a Ty Peterson 3-pointer. A 3-point play by Mariposa guard Dalton Rockwood put the Grizzlies up 63-56 with 1:45 left.
Cross scored five points and grabbed three rebounds to get Yosemite within two points, 63-61, with under a minute to play in the game.
Another 3-pointer by Noah Rockwood put MHS up 66-63. A game-tying 3-point shot by Cannon Eames was blocked giving the Grizzlies the 70-66 win.
Cross had a big night for the Badgers, scoring a team high 22 points (10 of 12 from the floor), to go with his 13 rebounds, and seven blocked shots. Point guard Tristan Eames also had a strong performance with 15 points, most from drives to the basket, and four assists.
Power forward Peter McLean had 10 points and 8 boards, and Cannon Eames added 11 points.
For Mariposa, the Rockwood brothers combined for 42, with Dalton getting a game high 23, and Noah adding 19.
Allen scores 17 in JV game
The JV game was a thriller with Mariposa leading at the half 26-24. At the start of the third quarter, Yosemite went on an 11-6 run with buckets by guards Noah Allen and Paul Antonis. The YHS guards upped the momentum and were key in YHS taking a 45-38 lead at the end of the third period.
The Grizzlies took back the momentum early in the fourth with a 9-1 run aided by five Badger turnovers in its first six possessions, giving Mariposa a 47-46 lead with 4:20 left in the game. YHS center Steven Schumaker subbed in and got four points, but Mariposa went on to build a 54-49 lead.
The Badgers came back to tie the game at 54 on a put-back by Christian Rold. Mariposa was up 55-54 with 20 seconds left in the game, and Yosemite had the last possession to win it, but a Badger turnover gave Mariposa the one point win.
Allen (17) and Antonis (15) combined for 32 of Yosemite’s 54 points. Both connected on two 3-pointers. Schumaker had eight points and four rebounds. Rold had six points and led YHS with 10 rebounds.
Home opener Jan. 7
YHS gets a chance for redemption against Tranquility in the home opener on Thursday, Jan. 7. Tranquility (11-4) defeated the Badgers 64-53 in the championship game of the Hawk Classic Tournament in Madera Ranchos Dec. 19. The JV team plays at 6 p.m., varsity 7 p.m.
On Friday, the Badgers travel to Fresno Christian High School (3-7), and are at Minarets on Jan 13. The team opens league play at home against Sierra on Jan. 15.