Miners run into formidable foe in Lodi, McDaniel’s scoring
Nevada Union could not control the glass in Friday night’s Division I Sac-Joaquin first-round playoff game against host Tokay of Lodi.
Lodi forward Jeff McDaniel was even more unmanageable.
McDaniel scored 29 points, including eight points in the final 80 seconds of the game, to lead seventh-seeded Tokay past 10th-seeded NU, 58-50. McDaniel’s performance marked the end of a slump that had stayed with him for the last two weeks of the regular season.
“He is a talented athlete, a Division I college prospect” Dellis said. “I thought we allowed him to establish position on us.”
NU (18-11 overall) stayed with Tokay (20-10) for three quarters of the game, with the Tigers building a seven-point lead in the third quarter that the Miners knocked down to three by quarter’s end.
NU, which had been out rebounded 24-17 until then, saw Miner center Kelib Thompson pick up his third and fourth foul in a 21-second span to open the final quarter.
Twice McDaniel grabbed offensive rebounds off missed Tiger free throws and put them back for baskets. He was fouled the second time he did that, and converted a three-point play to give Tokay a 48-42 lead with 3:42 remaining.
“At crucial times in the game, we gave up crucial offensive boards to them,” Dellis said. “Fact of the matter is, we are undersized, and if we are going to compete with teams like Tokay, we really have to do a great job of blocking out. We’ve done a good job of that in the past; tonight wasn’t one of them.”
And yet the Miners stayed within striking range until the final minute of the game.
Thompson, who finished with 11 points, hit a 14-footer before fouling out a minute later to cut Tokay’s lead to 48-44 with 3:32 left in the contest.
After two Tokay free throws, Tony Parilo hit a 10-footer in the lane and a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 50-48 with 1:32 left. Parilo, who had a team-high 22 points, did not score again, fouling out with a six seconds left in the contest.
A Jon Sheets drive once again trimmed Tokay’s lead to two with 50 seconds left, but McDaniel responded with a basket and four free throws to close out the game.
“Our main concern coming into the game was Parilo,” Tokay coach Dustin Lanz said. “He is a fantastic player. We held him to six baskets, and to hold a great player like that to mainly free throws is worth a game ball to our defense.”
While disappointed with Friday’s loss, Dellis said he could not be prouder of the way his first squad as head coach at NU improved as the season progressed.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids,” Dellis said. “They are smart and work hard. You are going to have years when you are sub-.500, and years you will compete for championships, but if you have kids who are going to work hard, and grasp what it is you are trying to give them, you can’t ask for more than that.”
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The Nevada Union Boys Water Polo team is off to a 6-2 start this season after Tuesday’s 22-12 league win at Oakmont.