The Miners basketball squad capped off its season Tuesday with a thrilling 58-56 win over Roseville on senior night at Albert Ali Gymnasium.
The win snapped their eight game losing skid in the Sierra Foothill League and gave all six of their seniors something to remember for a lifetime.
Jason Mickel led all scorers dropping in a season high 26 points, including a stretch late in the fourth quarter where he owned an 8-0 run. Mickel crashed the boards and put back a missed free throw, then followed with two consecutive 3-pointers to put his team ahead 53-48.
“He’s going to remember that for the rest of his life,” said NU head coach Jeff Dellis. “I’m so happy for our seniors. All six played phenomenal.”
The Miners never trailed after Mickel’s score-fest in the final minutes and hit clutch free throws to keep the Tigers at bay.
“I was just in the zone,” said Mickel. “I didn’t want our last game to be a loss.”
Lucas Vojak fouled out with an offensive charge in the fourth, but the game was never stopped for him to exit, which resulted in Roseville quickly pushing the ball up the court and getting fouled. After sinking a pair of free throws the Tigers pulled to within two points at 53-51 and were forced to foul. Mickel made both shots to push the lead back to four. After forcing a steal and laying in an easy one with 23 seconds remaining, Roseville found itself down by just two once again, but NU senior Elliot Fournier made both of his foul shots.
Roseville had one last chance down 58-56 with 8.7 seconds remaining, but senior McKay Richey positioned himself perfectly to contest the Tigers final shot. NU came away with the rebound and dribbled up the sideline to half court and began to celebrate.
“It means everything,” said Mickel. “Last game of the season at home, wouldn’t have drawn it up any different.”
NU was impressive defensively, holding Roseville to just 22 points in the first half. The Tigers kept it close by taking advantage of turnovers and also tossing in eight second chance points.
“Early in the game we did a nice job controlling the tempo,” Dellis said. “Roseville has the ability to shoot the lights out. Later we let the pace get away from us and we lost our composure.”
Coming out in the third quarter NU went on a 5-0 run with a jumper by senior Cody Gardner and one from beyond the arc by Richey to build itself a nine point advantage. Roseville answered the call with a 12-2 run and took its first lead of the game since leading 2-0 as the Tigers jumped out front 34-33. From there the game went back and forth with neither team pulling away. Vojak threw down a vicious dunk at the buzzer to put an exclamation point on the third quarter with the Miners ahead 40-38.
For the game NU shot 18-for-23 from the free throw line while Roseville was just 12-of-20. The Miners biggest deficit was when they trailed 48-45 with just under three minutes left, which is when Mickel took over. Richey and Gardner each contributed seven points for the Miners. Senior Sean Zuccaro, Vojak and Fournier all added six points each. Vojak was dominate down low and led the team in rebounds.
“We came out and gave them a run and got the last one,” added Mickel.
Senior night festivities honored seniors Mickel, Zuccaro, McKay, Brandon Dellis, Gardner and Fournier before the game. All of them made an impact in the season ending victory.
“All six of our seniors contributed in different ways,” said Dellis.
Nevada Union (9-18, 2-8 SFL) now heads into its off season.
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.