Nevada Union head boys basketball coach Jeff Dellis has a simple recipe to win this year’s Metro Conference crown:
Sweep the home games, and come away with at least a split on the road.
So far, so good.
The defending league co-champion Miners, on 15 points from Zane Edwards and a season-high team total of 18 assists, trounced Kennedy (Sacramento) 76-59 at Ali Gymnasium Friday to stay unbeaten in league play.
“It feels like years since we’ve been back here,” said Dellis, whose team last played at home Dec. 23. “The kids just fed off the energy of the crowd. They were focused.”
The Miners (10-6 overall, 3-0 Metro) remain alone atop the Metro Conference standings with the win.
Archie Pearson and Tyler Smith had 13 points each in the win. Brennan McFadden was right behind with 12.
“This is the second game in a row we’ve had at least four guys in double figures. If I were scouting us, I would have no idea who to focus on,” Dellis said.
Jarad Van Matre, who finished with eight points, tied Jason Roenicke for the team high in rebounds with five.
Van Matre also had four assists and three steals.
The Cougars, who entered the game in a three-way tie for second in the league with McClatchy (Sacramento) and Yuba City, fall to 10-8 and 2-2.
“Kennedy has a very athletic team, but we ran with them and we beat them. That just shows we can run with and beat any team in the league,” Pearson said.
Thanks to the hot hands of Pearson and Edwards, who combined for 13 of the hosts first 15 points, including three 3-pointers, the Miners built an 11-point lead at the four minute, 35 second mark of the first quarter.
The visitors then answered with a 15-2 run of their own over the next three minutes to take their first lead of the game at 19-17.
Kennedy, which trailed by as much of 15 points twice more in the game, reeled off a 10-2 run to cut the lead to seven points with 1:10 left in regulation.
That’s when Pearson came through.
As the Cougar defense turned up the heat in NU’s half-court set, the 6-foot, 3-inch guard tried to free up for an open look.
The shot clock was down to two seconds when a teammate found him open on the right wing.
With a defender in his face, Pearson drained his second trey of the night and NU went back up by 10 points.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to take a shot,” Pearson said. “I had pretty good feeling (that it was good) as soon as it left my hand.”
Dellis said that’s the kind of clutch performance he’s come to depend on of late.
“In general terms, we’ve really matured this year. Basketball is a game of runs and Kennedy made theirs tonight,” he said. “But when they did, we had an answer. The guys didn’t panic.”
Colt Stafford scored eight points off the bench for the hosts.
The Miner junior varsity won 60-50.
NU will play at Woodland 7 p.m. Wednesday.
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