NU loses nail-biter to Tokay in overtime |

NU loses nail-biter to Tokay in overtime

The buzzer went off, Tokay students rushed the floor celebrating as if their team had just won a state championship.

In reality, the No. 1 Tigers had just managed to slip by the No. 16 Nevada Union Miners by two points in overtime, winning by a final score of 73-71 in round one of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Playoffs.

What looked like an easy game on paper, based on the seeds, proved otherwise as four quarters were not enough for the Tigers to put away the Miners.

“For the last six days I couldn’t get Nevada Union out of my head,” Tokay coach Dustin Lanz said. “I knew the game was going to be a lot worse (harder) than most people thought. They deserved to win that game more than us.”

Regulation featured uptempo play with Tokay pressing and trapping the entire game. Nevada Union, in turn, constantly switched offenses and defenses to keep the Tigers off-balance.

The beginning of overtime began with the two teams knotted at 61, but the Miners were on the board first after two Kevin Nelson free throws 40 seconds into the period.

Forty seconds later, Nelson nailed a three-pointer in the corner in front of the Miners’ bench to put Nevada Union up 66-63. Nelson wasn’t finished either, as 20 seconds later he hit a basket and was fouled in the process, but connected on the free throw to convert the three-point play to put the Miners up 69-65.

The Tigers then went to 6-foot, 7-inch Julius Thomas, who scored three unanswered baskets to put Tokay up 71-69.

Nevada Union was without senior post Brennan McFadden – who had the assignment of guarding Thomas for the majority of the night – after he fouled out with 23.4 seconds left in regulation on a questionable call.

“That call was atrocious,” Nevada Union coach Jeff Dellis said. “Brennan read that play perfectly. We talked all week about what he likes to do and Thomas hit Brennan square between the numbers (which could have been an offensive foul).”

Nevada Union junior guard Tyler Smith scored a jumper at the end, but Tokay junior guard Michael Caffese hit 2-of-4 free throws to seal the game.

“There is nothing to say except for how proud I am of my players and how much I respect their effort,” Dellis said with tears in his eyes. “Their effort was just unbelievable – coming down against the No. 1 seed and to put it into overtime. My players have my highest regard.”

Nelson ended the game with 23 points with Smith scoring 21 points and McFadden chipping in with 10.

“Kevin Nelson came to play today,” Dellis said. “He’s been regulated to a complimentary role this year and accepted it with grace and integrity. He sets screens, passes and defends anyone we ask him to. We had an opportunity to shoot the ball tonight and I expect to see more of the same kind of performances next year.”

Tokay’s Thomas scored a game-high 31 points with Chaffese and Jordan Lawley scoring 16 and 19, respectively. Tokay improves to 23-5 with Nevada Union ending the season 14-15. The Miners were Metro Conference co-champions with Kennedy.

This marked the last game for seniors Adam Greene, Carter Latimer, Scott Kerksieck, Jacob Moore, and Brennan McFadden.

Tigers 73, Miners 71 (OT)

NU 17 20 9 15 10 – 71

Tokay 17 17 12 15 12 – 73

Nevada Union (71)

Latimer 1 0-0 2, Brundley 1 3-4 5, Smith 7 6-7 21, Kersieck 2 2-4 6, Edwards 0 2-2 2, Wood 0 0-0 0, Nelson 7 7-9 23, McFadden 4 2-2 10, Vogel 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 22-28 71.

Tokay (73)

Kelley 0 2-2 2, Sanchez 1 0-1 3, Lawley 6 4-4 19, Price 1 0-0 2, chaffese 6 4-6 16, Thomas 12 7-11 31, Seeley 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 17-24 73

Three point field goals – Lawley 3, Nelson 2, Smith, Sanchez 1. Total fouls – 48. Fouled out – McFadden, Sanchez.

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