Miners open Metro with win
Ask Nevada Union boys basketball coach Jeff Dellis what his team’s record is and with a hint of a smile on his face and a gleam in his eyes, he’ll proudly tell you 1-0.
That’s because NU’s 66-59 win over Granite Bay Tuesday, to begin the Metro Conference season, signifies a new beginning for Dellis and his team.
Forget the 10 losses, forget the inconsistent play, Dellis said, the Miners are undefeated and focused on defending their Metro championship.
While NU did begin its league schedule with a win, it did not come easy as Metro newcomer Granite Bay fought and scrapped to make the Miners earn every point of their seven point win.
“Nevada Union played very well, but we were able to get some momentum at times and make it a good game,” Granite Bay coach Guin Boggs said. “Credit them, however, for making critical shots or free throws when they needed to make them.”
The Miners went into the fourth quarter with a 46-35 lead, but within the first three minutes of the quarter, the Grizzlies pulled within two points, 49-47. Granite Bay leaned on its strength – three-point shooting – and went to work, hitting five total three-pointers in the final quarter to keep the game close.
“They shoot really well,” Dellis said. “With so many shooters they gave us some matchup issues. We play with two post players and they play with four guards.”
However, after Granite Bay (8-8 overall, 0-1 Metro) pulled to within two points, Nevada Union’s returning all-league players, Tyler Smith and Brennan McFadden, took control of the game combining for 13 of the Miners’ final 17 points to seal the win.
Dellis credited Smith and McFadden for orchestrating the key play of the game during a baseline out of bounds play.
“The play was designed for Tyler, but he was being doubled so he cleared out and Brennan slipped in and scored the basket and drew a foul,” Dellis said. “It was a really big play because it fouled out (Christian) Kraft, their big guy and it was all on an audible.”
McFadden, a senior, ended the night scoring 14 points while Smith, a junior guard, led all scorers with 28 points, including a 7-8 performance from the line.
“It was really nice to see the returning league MVP (Smith) asserting himself offensively out there,” Dellis said.”
Also playing a nice game for the Miners (4-10 overall) was senior forward Scott Kerksieck who totaled nine points and seven rebounds.
“Since Scott has come back we haven’t been out-rebounded,” Dellis said. “He’s a big presence on our team and does so much of the blue collar work like rebounding and setting screens that doesn’t always get as much attention.”
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