Far from finished
February 21, 2013
After three months of thrilling overtime victories, heart-breaking losses, slam dunks and air balls the prep basketball regular season has come to a close. The league champs have been crowned, playoff brackets have been released and now its time to look at how the Nevada County teams fared this season.
Nevada Union Lady Miners
(21-4, 9-1 SFL)
The Lady Miners capped an impressive regular season, in which they won the Sierra Foothill League title, by earning a round one home playoff game.
NU's only league loss this year was to Del Oro. A loss it would avenge by beating the Lady Golden Eagles, 70-67, at home to clinch the first SFL girls basketball title in NU history.
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The 2012-13 version of the Lady Miners display a balanced offensive attack coupled with a fierce defensive press.
NU led the SFL in points scored during league play with a 66.4 points per game average, and had the stingiest defense in the SFL, allowing just 42.1 points per game.
Junior Sydney Porter, who led the team in scoring as a sophomore, led the team again this season with 12.5 points per game. NU's offense is a balanced attack though as it boasts seven players that average at least five points per game.
Senior leaders such as Nicole Lierly, Kaylin Martin, Sarina Orellana and Olivia Gulsvig as well as juniors Erin Selleck and Porter bring a, "been here before," type stability to a team with aspirations of winning a section title and going far into the California state tournament.
For the Lady Miners, who were bounced in the first round of the playoffs last year, a home playoff game bodes well for them as they are 9-0 this season in the friendly confines of Albert Ali Gymnasium. A round-one win would also mean a second round home playoff game for the Lady Miners.
Nevada Union is slotted as the No. 4 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs and will host St. Francis of Sacramento at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Albert Ali Gymnasium.
Bear River Lady Bruins
(23-3, 8-2 PVL)
The Lady Bruins tallied 23 wins this season, grabbed a share of the Pioneer Valley league title and had a winning streak that lasted 12 games. For all that, Bear River earned the No. 1 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
The Bruins returned much of last season's team that made a deep run into the section tournament and won a first round game in the state tournament.
This year's version of the Lady Bruins has a much different approach than last season's though. Last year, the Lady Bruins were Jennifer Meylor-centric. The talented guard was the PVL MVP and led the team in scoring with 17.9 points per game.
This season the Lady Bruins are much more balanced. Junior post player Kaitlyn Reina leads the team with 13.2 points per game to go with 9.7 rebounds per game.
Bear River also gets 9.8 points per game from second year starter Savannah Welz, 7.9 points and eight rebounds per game from junior Teryn Rath, and 7.7 points per game from senior point guard Cindy Solomon.
Senior Sarah Hagar and junior Jenn Alberts also average at least five points per game this season.
Bear River led the PVL in points scored per league game with 57.5, and also had the top defense, allowing just 36.9 points per league game.
Junior Maddi Dunn is a big reason for the Lady Bruins' staunch defense as she is often tasked with covering the opponents best offensive player. Dunn averages 2.1 steals per game for a team that averages 15 per game.
Bear River hosts the winner of the No. 16 Mariposa versus No. 17 Hilmar Friday night matchup, at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.
Forest Lake Christian Lady Falcons (15-11, 7-5 CVCL)
The Lady Falcons had a resurgent season in 2012-13, winning 15 games and earning a berth into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs.
After last year's 15-loss season, Forest Lake Christian turned things around behind a talented group of returning players.
Senior post player Emily Woodward improved by leaps and bounds from last season and now offers a down-low scoring option on offense and is an intimidating key dweller on defense.
Sophomore Lauren Piner, who led the team in scoring as a freshmen last season, showed that her basketball ceiling is yet to be reached, as she again led the Lady Falcon offense in points and has displayed great fluidity on the defensive end.
Junior point guard Emily Pearce sets the tone for FLC with her tenacious defensive attack and ability to run the offense. Pearce is a high energy player, who if not in foul trouble, makes the FLC machine run.
The Lady Falcons are the No. 9 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs and will travel Tuesday to take on No. 8 seed Central Catholic of Modesto.
Forest Lake Christian Falcons (19-7, 9-3 CVCL)
The Falcons' run-and-gun style served them well this season as they notched 19 wins and tied for second place in the Central Valley California League.
FLC finished just one game behind league champ Woodland Christian.The Falcons are led by junior Chase Augustino, senior Brandon Camacho, senior Jesse Poppin and junior Luke Jordan.The guard oriented offense is led by Augustino's 14.7 points per game, Camacho's 13.8 per game and Jordan's 13.5 per game.Poppin adds an inside presence that many teams in Division V have a tough time dealing with. The lanky post player averages 6.5 points per game and pulls down 6.2 rebounds per game.
The Falcons have lots of role players that add to the character of this team and make them a contender in the upcoming postseason.
Junior J.J. Griffiths, junior Roman Mackovey, senior Josh Dreschler and junior Tim Schneider all contribute in different ways to make the Falcons the No. 7 seed in the D-V playoffs.
Forest Lake Christian will host No. 10 seed Bradshaw Christian at 7p.m. Wednesday in the first round of the playoffs.
Bear River Bruins
(14-12, 1-9 PVL)
After a preseason schedule that saw the Bruins jump out to a 13-3 start, the wheels came off when Bear River got into Pioneer Valley League play.
The Bruins closed the season by losing nine of their last 10 and just missing the playoffs. Despite the horrendous league record, if Bear River could have eked out one more win it would have earned a berth into the playoffs. A 52-43 loss to Center, a team they beat earlier in the year, on the final day of the season assured the Bruins there would be no second season.
The Bruins had the same problem all year – no other scoring option besides Justin Beskeen.
The senior post player averaged 21.6 points per game and grabbed 7.3 rebounds per game.
Travis Anderson was second on the team with 8.2 points per game, but after that Bear River was out of reliable scoring options.
The Bruins finished last in the PVL in offense with a mere 44.8 points per league game, and allowed the most points at 54 per league game.
Nevada Union Miners
(9-18, 2-8 SFL)
The Miners won their first Sierra Foothill League game of the season and their last. The only problem, they didn't win any in between.
NU opened the league season with a thrilling double overtime win against Woodcreek and concluded with a photo finish over Roseville Tuesday night.
Outside of those two wins, its been a long season for the Miners riddled with adversity and close losses.
The Miners lost last season's top scorer Ian Davis early in the season and struggled to find a consistent scoring threat.
Senior Cody Gardner offered a multi-tool asset for NU as the crafty guard was often asked to defend the opponents best scoring option and run the NU offense at times.
Senior Jason Mickel also played well in his senior year, showing signs of great athleticism and a potent scoring ability, but struggled to find consistency from game to game.
The Miners did see the emergence of 6-foot, 8-inch Lucas Vojak in the post. Vojak showed he is capable of scoring 30 points and grabbing 10-plus rebounds in any given game. Vojak, just a junior, gives NU a centerpiece to build around in the coming year. NU will also look to junior guard Nolan Stefani next season. The streaky shooter offers a 3-point threat who can also take it to the hole.
The Miners do lose a handful of valuable seniors as Elliot Fournier, Sean Zuccaro, McKay Richey, Brandon Dellis, Gardner and Mickel all graduate at the end of the school year.
For the season NU ranked at the bottom of the SFL in scoring, just 53.4 points per league game, and was fifth defensively, allowing 62.3 points per league game.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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