Just as it was last season, the Sierra Foothill League girls basketball champion will be decided when the Nevada Union Lady Miners host the Del Oro Lady Golden Eagles at Albert Ali Gymnasium.
Last season, the Lady Miners fell to Del Oro 59-45 and ended up one game back in the SFL standings, giving the Lady Golden Eagles their seventh straight league title.
This season, the Lady Miners (19-4, 7-1 SFL) hold the edge over Del Oro (16-9, 6-2 SFL) in league play, but NU’s lone league loss is to the Lady Golden Eagles. The Lady Miners lost at Del Oro Jan. 23, 58-53.
In that game, Del Oro jumped out to a 37-27 halftime lead behind senior Stephanie Geyer’s 18 first-half points. Geyer finished the game with 25 points and 17 rebounds.
The 6-foot, 1-inch Geyer poses a major problem for the Lady Miners, who boast speed and lethal shooting range but lack size in the post.
If NU wants to unseat the queens of the SFL, it will need strong play tonight from Sarina Orellana, Sammy DeHart and Melanie O’Brien.
Orellana, a senior, plays bigger than her 5-foot, 9-inch frame would suggest, said NU head coach John McDaniel, and is no stranger to battling in the paint against bigger players. Orellana often draws the task of guarding the opposing team’s best post player.
DeHart has been a solid addition to the Lady Miners’ front court this season, as the 5-foot, 11-inch sophomore leads the team in rebounding with 5.8 per game to go with 7.9 points per game.
O’Brien, a 5-foot, 11-inch junior, comes off the bench and adds a physical and athletic element to the Lady Miners’ defense. O’Brien averages 3.9 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game and can frustrate opponents with her tenacious style of defense.
The Lady Miners will also look for big games from their top offensive threats, Sydney Porter (12.2 points per game), Nicole Lierly (9.4 points per game) and Emma Peterson (8.5 points per game).
Porter and Peterson each scored 10 in the first matchup with Del Oro, and Lierly scored seven.
With a win tonight, the Lady Miners would clinch the SFL. With a loss Del Oro would have the same league record but hold the tie breaker. If Del Oro wins, only a loss to Woodcreek in its final game would give the Lady Miners the title.
The game tips off at 7 p.m. tonight at Albert Ali Gymnasium.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.