In the wake of the week: Miner uprising and Big John’s big moment
Winners of only two games in the Sierra Foothill League over the last two seasons, Nevada Union’s boys basketball team has run off five straight. Wednesday’s 77-61 drubbing of Granite Bay saw a staunch defense, focused offense, and great 3-point plays. It did not hurt that David Menary and Gary Menary poured in a total of 38 points collectively. Coach Jeff Dellis has these boys on a roll and they have bought into his winning formula. Can you say “playoff basketball” for this team? This team was ranked 17th at the beginning of the week. Miners Rising?
SIXTH MAN: Nevada Union’s Nick Ortiz may come off the bench, but he embodies everything basketball is all about. Great hustle. Huge team focus. Humility in the face of grizzled performance. Coach Dellis recognizes him as that squad’s unsung hero. Dedicated in practice and execution of the game plan, Ortiz looks to be a pivotal factor in the upcoming postseason run.
SURREAL SPORTS MOMENT: “Big” John Scott became “Great” John Scott in last Sunday’s National Hockey League All-Star Game. The much maligned Scott, once encouraged by the NHL not to compete in the game, scores two goals, becomes the fan favorite, and wins the MVP award for the contest on a write-in Twitter vote. The unforgettable moment: Sharks Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns hoisting him onto their shoulders following the game. The NHL should be ashamed for how they treated him initially. In time, they got it right. However, it took them too long and they made it too painful for fans and Scott.
WILLIAMS CLASS ACT OF TENNIS: No wonder she is the No. 1 player in women’s tennis. After losing to Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open Final, Serena Williams quips, “I was actually really happy for her. She played so well today. She had an attitude that I think a lot of people can learn from: just to stay positive and to never give up.” Williams embraced Kerber following Kerber’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win in Melbourne. It was a show of great sportsmanship by a tough competitor.
WALTON QUIETLY KEEPS WARRIORS AT TOP OF LEAGUE: Steve Kerr has finally returned to the Warriors bench. Quietly and humbly, Luke Walton stepped back into the assistant coach role. However, the Warriors went 39-4 under Walton. It was the second best start in league history. Kerr described Walton’s performance as “phenomenal.” Walton added some new offensive plays during Kerr’s absence and Kerr has decided to retain those plays. After all, don’t mess with a winning formula. If the Warriors get “Coach of the Year,” it must be split between Walton and Kerr. Watch for another NBA team to hire him as head coach after this season. Job well done by a guy with great character.
CAVS ON BLATT FIRING: OK, so the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the best NBA record in the east, ousted Coach Kevin Blatt. New coach Tyronn Lue speaks on keeping LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Lowe more accountable for their actions on the court. The team immediately goes 4-1 under Lue with 121.4 points per 100 possessions vs. 105.6. The trio all notch 20 points in wins over Phoenix, Detroit and San Antonio. A new era for the Cavs? Only time will tell.
LAST RODEO FOR THIS BRONCO?: Reports have it that 39 year-old Peyton Manning is going to call it a career after Super Bowl 50. It started with his conversation after the AFC Championship Game in which he told New England Patriot’s coach Bill Belichek that this might be his last rodeo. Now it is reported that he has told friends that this will be it. In turn, they leaked it to the media. So much for good friends.
MONKEYS, MONKEYS EVERYWHERE: In order to grasp the global effect of the NBA, the Kings place a shirt commemorating the Lunar New Year of the Monkey on every seat for Monday Night’s game vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. Demarcus Cousins complains that it conflicts with the beginning of Black History month. The shirts are removed. Fans are on the edge of their seats waiting to hear the fate of the hideous, all-black T-shirt. It looks like they may be moth-balled.
THE SNAKE: With the reports that Ken Stabler suffered from CTE when he died last July, it brings to mind a great story of his playing days. Embroiled in a very tight road playoff game, John Madden called a time out and summoned Stabler to the sidelines. As Madden set up the strategy, he detected that he did not have “The Snake’s” full attention. He was gazing into the stands. He said, “Ken, are you listening to me?” to which Stabler responded, “You know, John, we are putting on a heck of a show for these people.”
WARPATH: Golden State just lets the river…err Bay…keep rolling. Steph Curry notches 51 points in Golden State’s victory in Washington, 25 of them are in the first quarter. If he did not spend so much time on the bench “resting,” he would have set the NBA record for 3’s in that game. He came up three short of tying the record. Today’s tilt against Oklahoma City looms. Will history prevail or will it be a tight contest? Warriors looking to extend their home streak. Thunder rallying to end it now.
SHARKS BITE: Sharks win in St. Louis on Thursday evening by a 3-1 mark to go 9-1-2 in the last 12 games. A late tally by Matt Nieto seals the deal. The Sharks are tied for the best road record in the NHL. Now they need to start winning regularly at home. Biggest NHL disappointments after a hot start: The Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers. Best record after a miserable beginning: The Anaheim Ducks. Lots of hockey yet to play.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The 2021 High School Optimist All Star teams for baseball, softball and boys volleyball have been announced, and several local student-athletes made the cut.