By Gregg Dodderidge
DELANO — The near improbable run of the Yosemite High Varsity Boys Basketball program ended last Tuesday in an 88-65 road loss to Delano. It marked the end of an historic season in YHS boy’s basketball annals.
The Badgers (20-11) were seeded #14 in the CIF Central Section Division IV Boys Basketball playoffs. That meant that every game was on the road. The Badgers truly turned into road warriors.
First there was an exciting and emotional 70-67 double overtime win at Reedley High who held the #3 seed.
Two days later, YHS went to Bakersfield to take on South High. After a long road trip and a boisterous South crowd, the Badgers put together an amazing performance with a 71-59 win. The victory set up the semifinal match up against Delano.
For coaches Erik Peterson and Steve Lopez, it was a team they will always be proud of.
“We may just have run out of gas,” YHS head coach Erik Peterson said. “Our team had a great year. We have nothing to hang our heads on. It was a great playoff run. With the low seeding, we knew we had to win it on the road. We did. This team really came together, especially at the last half of the season. The players bought in to the team concept. I am really proud of our players and our team. It was a great season.”
It was also historic. The 2019-2020 Boys Basketball program won 20 game for the first time since the ’05-’06 team. The team also made it to the semi-finals. Only three programs in YHS history have managed that.
While the ’05-’06 team also won two playoff games, both were at home. This team did the same, but on the road.
Finally, YHS was the lowest-seeded team in any division to reach the semifinals. A win over Delano would have put the Badgers into the finals at Selland Arena this weekend. It was just not meant to be.
The Badgers faced a Tiger squad (21-10) that was an offensive juggernaut. Delano averages 70 points per game and 92 in their playoff run. It was close early on with the Tigers holding a slim 18-14 lead after the first quarter.
It was the second and third quarters that doomed the Badgers. Delano put up 52 points in that span. YHS scored only 28.
The Tigers would cruise in the fourth to earn a trip to Selland Arena.
Junior shooting guard Holden Eames led YHS with 18 points. Eames led the Badgers in scoring throughout the playoffs, averaging nearly 20 points per game. Since returning from an early season illness, Eames’s scoring was the difference for the Badgers.
Junior guard Ethan Coffman scored 13 points and had 5 rebounds.
Senior center Ben Page had a double-double in his final game as a Badger. Page had 12 points and 12 rebounds to end his only season as a Badger. Page played one year as he transferred from Missouri in his senior season.
Delano moved on to play the #1 seeded Kingsburg Vikings. The Vikings, who have been utterly dominant in the D-IV playoffs, defeated Delano 71-59 on Saturday to capture the D-IV title. Kingsburg defeated Washington Union 50-31 to earn the right to face Delano for the title.