Don’t look now, but there is some fantastic girls prep basketball being played in Nevada County.
On second thought, look, now before it’s too late.
Whether it’s the impressive defense of the Bear River Lady Bruins, the sheer dominance by the Nevada Union Lady Miners or the Forest Lake Christian Lady Falcons battling for a playoff spot, there is plenty of quality roundball going on in the area to wet any basketball fan’s appetite.
The regular season is in its final stretch, leaving just a handful of games left for local teams to make runs at league titles or make their case for the playoffs. Here is a look at Nevada County’s high school female ballers and the forecast for the rest of the season.
Nevada Union Lady Miners (16-4, 5-0 SFL)
League: Sierra Foothill League
League rank: 1
Sac-Joaquin Section rank: 6
The Lady Miners are currently riding a nine-game winning streak, including five straight in Sierra Foothill League play.
What’s more impressive is how Nevada Union is winning their league games. The Lady Miners have completed the first half of their SFL schedule and hasn’t been tested once, winning on average by 31.6 points. NU’s’ closest game in league play was a 21-point victory over Del Oro (15-6, 4-1 SFL).
The Lady Miners do it with a suffocating press defense that often leads to steals and transition buckets. But the Lady Miners are not a one-trick pony. They have the weapons to dominate in the half court, as well. NU is averaging 70.8 points per game in league games this season.
Senior Sydney Porter (18.9 points per game) is joined by fellow seniors Emma Peterson (14.1 points per game), Melanie O’Brien (7.9 points, 7.9 rebounds per game), Erin Selleck (4.5 points, 5.0 assists per game), and junior Sammy DeHart (12.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 steals per game) to form the most well rounded and intimidating starting fives in the league.
The Lady Miners should be able to win out and snag their second straight SFL title. The only likely hitch will be a road game at Del Oro. The Lady Golden Eagles are a talented, well coached team that will not have forgotten the whipping they took at the hands of NU earlier in the season.
Next game: at Woodcreek, 5:30 p.m. Friday
Game to catch: vs. Granite Bay (Senior night), 5:30 p.m., Feb. 7
Bear River Lady Bruins (17-2, 4-0 PVL)
League: Pioneer Valley League
League rank: 1
Sac-Joaquin Section rank: 9
Balanced scoring and a staunch defense is how the Lady Bruins have won 17 of their first 19 games, and remain the lone Pioneer Valley League team without a league loss.
Bear River hasn’t lost since Dec. 20 and are currently on a 10-game win streak.
For the season, the Lady Bruins have held opponents to 30.9 points per game, while they hang 53.3 points per game.
Bear River is led by their senior post players Kaitlyn Reina (14.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.8 steals per game) and Teryn Rath (9.2 points, 8.7 rebounds per game). While Reina and Rath hold down the paint, Bear River gets backcourt support from senior Lauren Runte (7.7 points, 4.6 assists per game), senior Maddi Dunn (4.9 points, 2.7 steals per game), and senior Jenn Alberts (5.7 points per game).
Through four league games, the Lady Bruins have been tested just once, with Colfax pushing them to the brink. Bear River won that game, 42-40, but a rematch at Colfax still looms.
Barring any upsets the Lady Bruins are on pace to win the PVL outright, but I’m sure Colfax will have something to say about that before the season is over.
Next game: at Center, 7 p.m., Friday
Game to catch: at Colfax, 7 p.m. Feb. 11
Forest Lake Christian Lady Falcons (14-6, 4-3 CVCL)
League: Central Valley California League
League rank: 4
State rank: 782
The Lady Falcons, armed with senior Emily Pearce (9.7 points per game), senior Josey Poppin (10 points per game) and junior Lauren Piner (12.7 points per game), are amidst a fight for an at-large bid into the playoffs.
After starting the season 10-3, FLC has had its ups and downs in Central Valley California League play, going 4-3 through their first seven games. The Lady Falcons have cruised past Delta twice, thumped Cristo Rey and walloped Foresthill, but lost close games to Sacramento Waldorf and Victory Christian, and was blown out by Woodland Christian.
The Lady Falcons will get another crack at Sac Waldorf and Victory, with those games being key to their postseason hopes.
Pearce missed the first half of FLC’s first matchup with Waldorf, then played the second half on a sore ankle. While her effort was gritty it didn’t result in a win. Maybe a healthy Pearce can from the get-go be the difference in the teams’ rematch Friday.
Next game: at Sacramento Waldorf, 6:30 p.m., Friday
Game to catch: vs. Victory Christian, 6:30 p.m., Feb. 14
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.