The Yosemite Badgers girls basketball team (12-14, 5-2 North Sequoia League) traveled to the unfriendly Sierra High School (14-7, 6-1 NSL) gym Feb. 2, and pulled off the upset of the season, beating the previously undefeated North Sequoia League leaders 40-34.
The Badgers, at home, lost to the Chieftains 37-25 in round one of league play and also suffered a defeat by Washington Union.
Sierra was in the midst of a nine game winning streak, including a 5-0 league record, and featured the top power player in the league in 5-foot-10 left-handed sophomore Maesyn Rix, averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds a game.
Yosemite countered with two left-handed players in 5-foot-9 seniors Allie Stearns and Ashlee Harrell. Stearns was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Badgers with more modest numbers at 11.7 points and six rebounds per game supported by Harrell with eight points a game, and a team high 68 assists for the season.
Harrell was coming off a career high 20 point game in a victory against Kerman while the Lions focused their attention on stopping Stearns.
Interestingly enough, the two Yosemite players had swapped positions more than midway through the season with the benefits starting to show as the Badgers prepared to avenge the two round one league defeats.
Playing a rare game of consistency from start to finish, the Badgers went up 8-0 on Sierra and never trailed in the game on their way to the upset in front of a stunned Sierra home crowd.
Stearns had 20 points and 12 rebounds while Sierra’s Rix led the Chieftains at a relatively low nine points.
YHS sophomore Sienna Oswald added 11 rebounds in probably her last game this season as she sustained a broken finger in practice prior to the Feb. 5 game against Liberty.
Badgers devour Liberty 67-29
The future of Lady Badger basketball was on display Feb. 5, as Coach Gary Blate started four freshman - 5-foot-1 Lilly Graffigna, 5-foot-7 Grace Fries, 5-foot-9 Sophie McGoldrick, and 5-foot-10 Hailey Rich.
The group showed great promise getting out to a 18-6 first quarter lead over the Liberty Hawks, before the Badgers handily defeated the team from the Madera Ranchos 67-29.
The Hawks hit four 3-point shots in the second quarter, and tied the game at 20-20 before the Badgers scored 10 quick points for a 30-20 halftime lead.
Yosemite outscored the Hawks 37-9 in the second half.
Stearns lead the way with 15 points while Graffigna had 11, and Fries 10 points, all in the first half.
The Badgers played Washinton Union Tuesday (scores not available at press time), and will be in Chowchilla Friday.
The team wraps up league play Feb. 16 at Kerman, and will then await its CIF Central Section playoff fate with the first game scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24 or Friday, Friday Feb. 26, depending on how many teams enter the D-II bracket.