Much like when a younger sibling beats an older sibling — it’s not likely to happen twice in a row.
That was the case Wednesday night at Albert Ali Gymnasium when the Nevada Union Alumni team avenged last year’s last second loss by beating the 2012-13 version of the NU basketball team.
Behind Kelib Thompson’s 18 points and a 15-4 run down the stretch, the Alumni team topped the Miners, 70-59.
“It was definitely tougher this year,” said senior guard Ian Davis. “They stacked it.”
The Alumni team boasted a young and athletic group of former Miners and got out to an early 21-11 lead in the first.
The Miners shaved that down in the second with tough defense, not allowing the Alumni a field goal until there was 2:24 left in the quarter.
After the Miners closed the gap to only four points, the Alumni got baskets from Jared Van Matre to extend their lead to seven. Davis answered with a long jumper, but Thompson closed the quarter with a 3-pointer to put the Alumni up 29-21.
Davis led all scorers on the night with 19. He was aided nicely by Elliot Fournier with 14, and Cody Gardner with 11 points, including three 3-pointers.
The two teams with players spanning more than two decades battled tightly into the fourth quarter. The Miners had trailed by as much as nine in the second half but stormed back behind 3-pointers from McKay Richey, Gardner and Davis. The Miners pulled the game even at 55.
“We got down early, and it would have been really easy to just implode and we didn’t,” NU head basketball coach Jeff Dellis said of his Miner team. “I’m proud of my guys for jumping back in and getting it to 55-all and giving us a chance to win. I think we got better tonight”
That’s when the Alumni began to pull away.
Tyler Smith, who had predicted a big win for the Alumni team before the game, scored six of his seven points in the fourth quarter, and Thompson accounted for seven points in the final minutes.
The game was put out of reach when Gary Daley found Josh Roenicke with a pretty back-door pass that set him up for an easy lay in.
Roenicke finished the night with 12 points, Chad Smith poured in 11, and every player on the Alumni team scored.
Brennan McFadden, who assumed coaching responsibilities for the Alumni team, said he was pleased with how his team was able to hold on down the stretch.
“I have so many memories from this gym and now I get to create more. I used to play against the Alumni team, and now I am one, and it’s nice to get the win.” McFadden said. “Dellis always has them ready early. They’re big, athletic, they got some tough guys, and I’m really excited to watch them this year.”
When all was said and done, all the NU basketball players, past and present, gathered for a team photo.
“It’s my favorite night of the year,” Dellis said. “All these guys have been part of our program and continue to be a part of our program. It’s awesome. I really, really appreciate all the guys.”
To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford call (530) 477-4232 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org