Michelle Massari returns to Nevada Union with pack of purple Dragons | TheUnion.com

Michelle Massari returns to Nevada Union with pack of purple Dragons

Michelle Massari is an NU graduate and the head coach of the Sacramento High School girls basketball team.
D.Hagstrom |

Know and Go

What: Girls basketball

Who: Nevada Union vs. Sacramento High

When: 7 p.m., Monday

Where: Albert Ali Gymnasium, Nevada Union High School

It was nearly two decades ago that Michelle Massari was running the point for the Nevada Union girls basketball team, helping it to three Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I championship games and a section title in 1995.

Massari makes her return to Nevada Union Monday, a homecoming of sorts, but this time, she will be wearing purple and followed by a talented bunch of Dragons.

For the past six years, Massari has been the head of Sacramento High School’s girls basketball program, and in that time, she has won the Metro League five times, going 62-0 in league play, made the section title game five times, won the section championship three times, has been named the Sac Bee’s Coach of the Year in 2010 and the California Coach of the Year last season.

“We’re pretty good, but so is NU,” she said. “It should be a pretty good battle.”

Before landing at Sacramento High School in 2008, Massari coached nine years at the collegiate level at both Chico State and UC Davis.

The Sacramento Lady Dragons boast five players who have already signed National Letters of Intent to attend and play for Division-I colleges after they graduate.

Sacramento is led by its fab-five seniors, Najah Queenland (University of Pacific), Ayanna Edwards (Arizona State), Chaya Durr (UC Santa Barbara), Zoynia Cormier (Cal Poly San Louis Obispo) and Simone Shepard (UNLV).

The Lady Miners are 2-1 in this young season, having lost in overtime to a strong Vanden team and logging lopsided wins over Christian Brothers and River City.

The Lady Miners are led by their seniors as well with Sydney Porter averaging 23 points per game and fellow senior Emma Peterson averaging 12.

Nevada Union head coach John McDaniel said the game with Sacramento will be a good test for his squad.

“Two good basketball teams doing battle, and Michelle is coming back. Should be good,” he said.

Massari said she has had her eye on a non-league matchup against NU for some time now.

“I’ve been trying to do it for a couple of years now, and this year, they had an opening,” she said. “I try to play the best. They are definitely a good team, and it will be a battle.”

During Monday’s game, as Massari traverses the sideline coaching her team, some may notice a lot of similarities to former NU girls basketball coach Craig Strohm, for whom Massari played while attending NU.

“He was crazy, demanding and loud,” Massari said of her former coach. “I’m all of that and more.”

Massari said she and Strohm have stayed in touch throughout the years and have become close friends.

“I learned from the best,” she said. “I hated it when I played for him, and now I’m exactly the same. Sometimes I go on rants or emotional speeches at halftime, and it reminds me of him. I see a lot of him in me.”

Massari’s dad, Mike Massari, was a longtime NU football coach, and brother Matt Massari was a standout football player for the Miners in the late 1990s.

Michelle will take on her prep alma mater at 7 p.m. Monday in the Albert Ali Gymnasium.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

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