Reedley girls trounce Yosemite in Holiday Classic opener

Cortez scores career-high 31 points as Pirates post 69-12 victory, Dinuba and Sanger West to play after dropping opening matchups

Reedley High’s Nia Holman splits a pair of Yosemite High defenders to put up a shot during the first half of the Pirates’ 69-12 victory over the Badgers in the opening round of the Reedley Holiday Classic on Dec. 28. The junior guard scored 12 points, all on 3-point shots. (Danny Jimenez)
Jon Earnest
Published December 29, 2023  • 
11:30 am

REEDLEY –A career-best scoring night from Raquel Cortez powered the Reedley High girls basketball team to an easy opening-night victory Thursday at the Reedley Holiday Classic.

The senior guard-forward scored 31 points — 22 in the first half a trio of 3-point baskets — as the Pirates (9-7) stormed to a 45-6 halftime lead and breezed past Yosemite High (5-7) 69-12 to cap off the opening night of the three-day event. Other scores on Dec. 28 saw Kerman defeat Sanger West 54-20, Madera beat Dinuba 38-27 while Fresno topped Kingsburg 55-36.

Cortez sank a pair of threes and scored 11 points in the opening eight minutes as the reigning Division V section champions jumped to a 20-2 lead. She matched the 11 in the second quarter, and added a fourth 3-pointer in the second half to account for nearly half the team’s points. Junior guard Nia Holman scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers, while fellow junior Lelia Perez added eight points.

Dinuba (6-7) never was able to overcome an early 11-point deficit after one quarter against Madera (10-4). Ryan Mitchell scored 13 of her game-high 15 points in the first half for the Coyotes. Junior guard Jalissa Espirito scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the second half for the Emperors.

Reedley will play Fresno (9-5) in the 6:30 p.m. late game Friday, Dec. 29, and with a win would advance to the 3 p.m. championship contest on Saturday, Dec. 30. Other Friday matchups pit Sanger West (4-9) against Dinuba at 2 p.m., Kingsburg vs. Yosemite at 3:30 p.m. and Kerman vs. Madera at 5 o’clock.

Jon Earnest