The No. 10 seed Yosemite High boys basketball team’s (19-10, 8-2 North Sequoia League) run at a Central Section D-IV title came to a abrupt end in the Feb. 23 opening round of the 16-team playoffs, losing 58-36 to No. 7 seed Coalinga (22-7).
It was Yosemite’s first playoff game since the 2011-2012 season, and the Badgers entered the game with 19 wins, the most since the 2005/2006 season. The team’s 19 wins was more than the previous three seasons combined.
Coalinga entered the game with 13 straight wins, playing with six seniors and seven juniors.
YHS Coach Aaron Eames was positive despite the loss.
“We thought we would play better ... Coalinga played well and played as a team,” Eames said. “They are mostly juniors and seniors and two years ago they were the D-IV champs. Our inexperience was a factor for sure, but we also didn’t execute when we had to. Still, I am very pleased with our season overall. It was a great year.”
The Horned Toads dominated from start to finish, starting the game with a 7-0 run. After an opening bucket by Badger senior center Kade Cross it all went south for the Badgers. Coalinga scored early and often while the Badgers committed costly turnovers, and looked tentative.
Coalinga had a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, and the game became a blowout early in the second quarter with Badger miscues and missed shots.
Coalinga built a 29-9 lead on a 13-0 run, and the shell-shocked Badgers went into halftime down 36-13.
The Badgers fared a bit better in the third period but only outscored the Frogs 15-12. Coalinga still held a commanding 48-28 lead. Coalinga and YHS emptied their benches in the fourth quarter.
As a team YHS hit on only 14 of 50 shots on 28% shooting from the floor, and only 7 of 19 free throws.
Tristan Eames led YHS with 12 points and three assists, while Cross, in his final game as a Badger, had 11 points, and 10 rebounds. Peter McLean had nine points and five rebounds.
Freshman Christian Rold, brought up to varsity for playoffs, had three points and Ben Negley one.
Coalinga’s Dominguez led all scorers with 15 points. As a team, Coalinga hit on 6 of 8 3-point shots.
With only one senior and a good JV team, the Badger basketball program looks solid and playoff bound for the next few seasons.
After its win over Yosemite, Coalinga was eliminated from the playoffs Feb. 25, being upset by No. 15 seed Orosi, 61-58.
The Central Section Basketball Championship boys and girls games are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Selland Arena in Fresno.
The Badger boys’ basketball program will hold its season-ending banquet at YHS 6 p.m. March 16.