It was an improbable championship scenario for Mountain Basketball last week. Against the odds, the Warriors came through in one of their most historic basketball victories in team history, defeating Garces 69-64 to clinch a share of the SEYL championship.
Tehachapi (19-7; 8-2 SEYL) overcame a 32-26 halftime deficit by opening up the third quarter on an 8-2 run to tie the game at 34-34, thanks to back-to-back three pointers by Isaiah Johnson and Chris Llamas. The Warriors ended up outscoring Garces 23-8 in the period to build a sizable 49-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Thomas Blewett helped stave off a Ram comeback for the majority of the final minutes with two key buckets and an assist to Jonny Saavedra to make the score 62-50 with just over two minutes remaining.
In the game's final seconds, Mountain Basketball secured the win at the free throw line, with Johnson finishing the night at the Warriors leading scorer with 32 points, followed by Saavedra with 11 points, Llamas with 10 points and Medovitch with seven points.
The Warriors, Rams and Blades all closed the regular season with 8-2 league marks, sharing the SEYL title.
According to thswarriors.com, in 14 total seasons of league play with the Rams, Mountain Basketball has only defeated Garces seven times in 28 meetings. The victories occurred once in 1996, twice in 1997, twice in 1998 and once in 2004 in addition to last week's win. The 2014 victory was arguably the one that topped them all, giving Mountain Basketball their first boys Yosemite Division league title in school history in any sport. It also marked the 22nd league basketball championship for THS since the first boys basketball season in 1930-1931.
Earlier in the week, the Warriors made quick work of Foothill in a 78-44 win. Johnson led the scoring charge with 18 points, followed by Saavedra with 13 points and Daniel Wight with a season-high 11 points.
Junior Varsity / Freshmen results and highlights from the last week of the SEYL season will be featured in the next edition of the Tehachapi News.
The Warriors will have a playoff quarterfinal game this Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. vs. the winner of No. 3 Independence and No. 14 South. If South wins, the game will be played in Tehachapi. If Independence wins, the Warriors will travel to Bakersfield and play in the IHS gym. For full results and up-to-date bracket information, log on to cifcs.org.
History of League Championships -- THS Boys Basketball
Sierra League -- 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1952, 1956
Desert Inyo League -- 1967, 1974, 1977, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992
South Sequoia League -- 1997, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012
Southeast Yosemite League -- 2014
2014 CIF Central Section Division III Playoff Seedings
Varsity Boys Basketball -- No. 1 Roosevelt, No. 2 Fresno, No. 3 Independence, No. 4 Dinuba, No. 5 Mission Oak, No. 6 Tehachapi, No. 7 West, No. 8 Porterville, No. 9 Mt. Whitney, No. 10 Golden Valley, No. 11 Shafter, No. 12 Cesar Chavez, No. 13 Central Valley Christian, No. 14 South, No. 15 Sanger, No. 16 Frontier