The Nevada Union boys basketball team gave its fans an early Christmas present Friday night at Albert Ali Gymnasium, beating the Natomas Nighthawks, 78-54.
The Miners (5-6) put on a shooting display, hitting nine 3-pointers on their way to their highest scoring total of the season.
“We shared the ball,” Nevada Union head coach Jeff Dellis said. “The more we trust each other, the more we give up the ball a little bit — give up good shots for great shots — the better we will be.”
The Miners had 18 assists on the night and were led by point guard Sean Zuccaro’s six dimes.
“I haven’t read the stat yet, but I’m pretty confident we had more assists than turnovers, which makes us 94-2 when we have more assists than turnovers in my tenure,” Dellis said.
Senior guard Cody Gardner led the NU offensive attack with 23 points, including four 3-pointers to go with his four rebounds and four steals.
“Cody is more athletic than any kid we have,” Dellis said. “He has so much God-blessed talent, and the more confidence he plays with the better we are. He does so much for us on both sides of the floor. We ask him to guard their best player. We ask him to run the offense some. We ask him to score some. We would be lost without him. He’s that important to us.”
Nolan Stefani also hit four 3-pointers on his way to 14 points, and the Miners’ big man, Lucas Vojak, poured in 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win.
“When (Vojak’s) relentless on the glass, when he goes up and puts his own shots back in, that’s great for us,” Dellis said. “He’s got a really bright future.”
After falling behind 8-4 early in the first quarter, the Miners stormed back with buckets from Jason Mickel, Stefani and Zuccaro to grab the lead. With NU up 11-8, Gardner went to work. The 6-foot, 2-inch guard scored the Miners next seven points, including a coast-to-coast drive in which he broke the Nighthawk press and scored while being fouled. Gardner hit the free throw and was 5-for-5 from the charity stripe on the night.
Heading into the second quarter, the Miners had a 20-16 edge, and it didn’t take long for them to extend their lead. Three Vojak baskets, including a dunk that garnered a roar from the crowd, along with a Gardner 3-pointer and a Stefani 3-pointer put NU up 12, and the team never looked back.
In the third, the Nighthawks climbed back to within nine points at 43-34 but never got closer. Vojak dominated the paint in the third, grabbing six rebounds, Gardner sank a pair 3-pointers, and Elliot Fournier put in two late buckets to put the Miners up 58-39 at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth, the Miners emptied their bench as all active NU players got minutes. NU’s Michael Tapia chipped in five points and played physical defense, Kyle Cammon made the best of his minutes with a bucket and a pair of rebounds, and Fournier scored another four points to bring his total to eight.
Nevada Union will take a few days off for the holidays but will get back to it Wednesday at the Holiday Hoops Tournament at Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call (530) 477-4232 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org