It had the competitive playoff atmosphere everyone expected and the Hollywood script to back it up.
Trailing 81-76 in overtime, the Nevada Union Lady Miners basketball squad stormed back and answered the call, led by senior Sydney Porter’s 38 points, to defeat Sacramento High 88-83 in Monday night’s non-conference matchup at Ali Gymnasium.
“We just knew coming in, it would be the game of the year,” said Porter, who drained one of her five 3-pointers to start NU’s 12-3 run to close out the game. “We knew we had the advantage of home court. We just had to come and give it our all. As tired as I was, I just pushed myself up the court, getting shots, feeding my players and making shots for other people.”
The Lady Dragons rallied at the end of regulation to force the extra period. Down 73-66, Sacramento wouldn’t go away. Senior Anyanna Edwards proved to be Sacramento’s best weapon. The 6-foot 4-inch center led her team with 21 points but sat out most of the first half after getting into foul trouble early. After a three-point play by Edwards and then a 3-pointer from sophomore Aliceah Hernandez, Sacramento trailed 75-72. Hernandez later missed from behind the arc with an opportunity to tie it. Each team would add free-throws but it was Lady Dragons senior Simone Sheppard adding a final basket with about five seconds to play to knot the game at 76-76.
“Definitely, and then some,” said Nevada Union head coach John McDaniel, confirming that the game had indeed lived up to his expectations. “We had to work through some issues in the third quarter. We couldn’t worry about what we couldn’t control. You can control execution though, so we just played our game. We pressed and stuck with it the whole game. This is a special year for these girls.”
After going down by five points in overtime Porter’s 3-pointer was just the beginning for the Lady Miners. Senior Sammy DeHart knocked down a 3-pointer of her own and senior Emma Peterson added a pair of free-throws to put NU up 84-81.
Both teams traded buckets once more to make it 86-83 and then it was Peterson who grabbed a huge offensive board with 17.7 seconds to play. The Lady Dragons were forced to foul and Porter went to the line and sank both foul shots to ice it.
“I’ve experienced (that pressure) a few times before,” added Porter, who remained calm despite the booming screams coming from behind the Sacramento bench.
Free-throws were a key part of the game for both teams. NU finished 24-of-32 from the line and Sacramento shot 18-of-21. Adding to the Lady Miners offensive attack was DeHart, who finished with 20 points and nine boards, followed by senior Melanie O’Brien who tossed in 11 points and hauled down six rebounds. Senior Erin Selleck also contributed 10 points, including a big 3-pointer down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
For the Lady Dragons, Hernandez and Najah Queenland both chipped in 16 points and Sheppard had 11. Each squad had four players score in the double digits.
NU was determined start to finish and appeared to want it more from the get-go, after jumping out front 8-0 in the first quarter and going up by as many as 11 points before hitting the locker room with a 41-32 lead.
Controlling the tempo of the game with its fast-paced offense, NU quickly had the Lady Dragons disoriented and breathing fire every which way to try to slow them down. It wasn’t until the third quarter when Sacramento coach Michelle Massari finally had some things go their way to claw back into it.
The Lady Miners (20-4, 8-0 SFL) return to league play when they hit the court Friday at Roseville.
JV: Nevada Union 39, Sacramento 36
Trailing by five points with three minutes left, the Lady Miners defense stiffened and Chelsea Rodriguez came up with some clutch points to push Nevada Union past Sacramento Monday at Albert Ali Gymnasium.
Rodriguez hit a late 3-pointer and knocked down a pair free throws down the stretch to help the Lady Miners earn their 17th win of the season. Rodriguez finished with 12 points and four steals.
Nevada Union also got strong play from Ella Walton with 13 points, and Audrey Jacus with eight rebounds and four steals.
Frosh: Nevada Union 43,
The Lady Miners notched their 20th win of the season Monday, beating the Dragons from Sacramento High by 10.
Graacie Sill led NU with nine points, nine rebounds and five assists. Kayla Tofte added seven points to go with four assists and four steals. Miranda Townsend and Shaye Costanza each scored six in the win.