Nevada Union basketball tourney set to tip Thursday, boasts stiff competition |

Nevada Union basketball tourney set to tip Thursday, boasts stiff competition

Former Miner Cody Gardner races upcourt against El Camino during last season's Nevada Union Invitational Tournament.
John Hart | The Union

Know and Go:

What: Telestream presents the Nevada Union Invitational Tournament

When: Dec. 12-14

Where: Albert Ali Gymnasium

Cost: General: $5, Student: $3 w/ ASB $2

From Thursday through Saturay, there will be some quality basketball on display at Albert Ali Gymnasium as the Nevada Union Invitational Basketball Tournament gets under way.

The tourney, underwritten by Telestream, will feature eight teams vying for the championship, including host Nevada Union and last year’s champ, El Camino.

“It’s a great community event and an opportunity for Nevada County to see some solid basketball,” Nevada Union head coach Jeff Dellis said.

While the community is urged to attend the event for the afternoon games, the tourney tips off at 12:50 p.m. Thursday and will feature a game just for the Nevada Union student body. The Miners will face Lindhurst to open the tourney in front of a packed house of Nevada Union students.

“There is some method to our madness,” Dellis said. “We sacrifice a possible big gate for the opening game, but we get a lot of (NU) kids to see a game live.”

In the eight-team bracket, each squad will play three games, and to be the champ, a team will need to win all three of its games.

This year’s tourney boasts several playoff teams from a year ago and two squads that made it into the state tournament last season.

El Camino, Will C. Wood, Enterprise, River Valley, Orland and Golden Valley all made the playoffs in their respective sections and divisions last season. Enterprise and Orland both made it to the CIF state tourney, and Enterprise was a Northern Section champ last season. The only two teams in the tourney that didn’t make the playoffs in 2012 were NU and Lindhurst, which did finish over .500 on the season despite not making the postseason.

Even with the stiff competition, Dellis said he likes his team and hopes the tourney provides some much-needed on-court experience.

“I like my team,” Dellis said. “They’re young, anxious to get better, talented and extremely inexperienced.”

The Miners return only one starter from last season, Nolan Stefani, but he has yet to play in a game this season as he nurses an injury.

Nevada Union has gotten production from other spots with Garrett O’Callaghan and Josiah Barber elevating their games despite a lack of on-court experience. O’Callaghan scored 28 points in NU’s final game of the Harding Invitational and was named to the all-tournament team. Barber, despite not playing for the Miners as a junior, has been a pleasant surprise as a senior, said Dellis.

“(Barber) has really stepped up and offers wisdom,” he said. “Despite not having experience, he plays like he does.”

The action gets started Thursday and will run through Saturday with the championship game taking place at 4 p.m. Saturday in Albert Ali Gymnasium.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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