The Yosemite High Varsity Boys Basketball team snapped a five-game North Sequoia League losing streak by defeating the Chowchilla Tribe 67-59 on Senior Night on Friday in Oakhurst.
On Jan. 30, the Badgers lost an away game to NSL nemesis Washington Union 62-56. The Badgers are now 14-14 overall and 4-5 in the NSL. Friday’s win moves the Badgers closer to an expected Central Section D-IV playoff berth.
The Badgers defeated the Tribe 69-35 on Jan. 15 in Chowchilla in one of the most lopsided wins this season. Friday’s game was another story. Despite the emotion of Senior Night and a loud, enthusiastic, and packed Badger Gym, Chowchilla gave YHS everything they could handle. The Tribe were only behind by two points in the fourth quarter.
But the Badgers had senior Paul Antonis who turned in one of the best performances of his stellar YHS career. All Antonis did was hit for a career high 36 points including nine 3-pointers. This ties Antonis’s record of 3-pointers in a game set last season. Antonis also led YHS with 13 rebounds, 10 on the defensive end.
Yosemite jumped out to a comfortable 35-21 halftime lead. The second half belonged to the Tribe. Chowchilla (6-17, 1-8) outscored YHS 17-12 in the third and was down only 49-47 with 5:47 to play. From there, Antonis hit a 3-pointer and Holden Eames had a 3-point play and it was 55-47 YHS. Still, the Tribe fought back with baskets from Terrell Middleton. Chowchilla was the recipient of a number of foul calls but missed key free throws down the stretch.
A 3-pointer by Badger guard Owen Bazzar put YHS up 64-57 with 1:17 to play and YHS held on to win.
“Chowchilla played a great game,” said Badger head coach Erik Peterson. “We shot a lot of threes where we had opportunities under the basket. Paul Antonis had a great game. He is a great athlete and it showed tonight.”
Owen Bazzar had 12 points and led YHS with 4 assists. Dylan Allen had a memorable senior night with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists. Holden Eames had 4 points. Ethan Coffman and Christian Rold each had 3 points. Rold pulled down 11 rebounds. Nathaniel Mulkey had 2 points and 5 rebounds.
Senior Terrell Middleton led Chowchilla with 23 points. Dajon Davison had 16. Zach Ellison led all players with 15 rebounds.
The YHS Seniors
YHS celebrated the careers of six seniors prior to the start of the game. The Yosemite senior class included: Dylan Allen, Paul Antonis, Clayton Elrod, John Nisar, Christian Rold, and Jeroe Solon.
There is also senior center Hayden Lewis, who was injured midway through the season and declared ineligible. Lewis was a key contributor for the Badgers. Lewis led YHS in scoring and rebounding in four games this season. “Losing Hayden really hurt,” said assistant coach Steve Lopez, who coaches the YHS ‘bigs.’ “Hayden played so well. At times he dominated the inside. He is certainly missed.”
The Badgers made the long road trip to Easton on Jan. 29. They faced a Panther squad that’s on a roll after a slow start this season. Union started the season 1-13 but played tough competition. The Panthers are 9-2 since Jan. 8. Union (7-2, 10-15) and Yosemite have a long history but it has been pretty one sided for the Panthers.
Still, YHS had a shot. Yosemite had a strong start and led Union 30-24 at the half. The Panthers outscored YHS 22-12 in the critical third quarter. The Badgers played Union close in the fourth but couldn’t overcome the hole they dug in the third.
The Badgers had no answer for Union senior Stephen Martin who led all scorers with 26 points. Martin also led Union with 9 rebounds and 6 steals. Freshman Laurence Stell had 16 for the Panthers.
Overall the Badgers were 21 of 56 shooting for 38 percent. YHS was 11 of 32 from beyond the arc. Union got their points inside while hitting only 3 of 17 three-point attempts.
Paul Antonis led YHS with 17 points, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Owen Bazzar had 12 points and led YHS with 8 boards. Dylan Allen and Holden Eames each had 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Playoff seedings will be announced on Feb. 8.
Currently, the Badgers are ranked No. 11 in D-IV according to MaxPreps.com. Kerman is ranked fifth.
Yosemite JV tied for league lead in the NSL
The JV Badgers swept their two NSL games last week. The Badgers defeated league-leading Washington Union 45-40 in double overtime at Easton. On Friday, YHS took care of the Tribe of Chowchilla 44-30.
It has been one of the greatest JV seasons in recent memory for YHS. Overall, YHS is 18-3 for the 2018-2019 season.
The Badgers played their most memorable game of the year against league-leading Washington Union. Yosemite took Union to double-overtime and pulled out a 45-40 win. It was payback for a 44-28 drubbing by the Panthers at home on Jan. 11. Both teams are now tied at 8-1 in the NSL. If YHS can defeat Kerman next week, they will at the least share the NSL title depending on what happens with Union.
Badger head coach Luke Blate was proud of his team’s performance against Union. “That was our best win of the season,” Blate said. “We won on the road against a team that pressed us on every possession. We played together as a team, broke their press, and in the end put it all together. Winning at Union is never easy. It says a lot about our players. I am really proud of this team.”
Jesse Swope led YHS with 14 points against Union. Jack Elrod had 13 and Nathan Kingsland had 9, including 4 in the second overtime. Garrett McMechan added 7. They were the only YHS scorers.
Garrett McMechan almost single-handedly led YHS to the win against Chowchilla. McMechan had a season-high 26 points against the Tribe connecting on eight 3-point shots. Swope had 7 and Elrod had 4 for Yosemite.