NU manhandles rival Honkers
Most senior nights are filled with bittersweet moments and emotional farewells to high school careers as parents dot the stands with proud tears welling in their eyes.
But the scene was quite different Thursday night at Ali Gymnasium as the Nevada Union boys basketball team hosted rival Yuba City for its final regular season game of the year.
The gym was an atmosphere of celebration as those gathered know they will have one more chance to see their Miners play another game in Ali Gymnasium – in Nevada Union’s first round Sac-Joaquin Section playoff game. The fans simply wanted a chance to properly welcome home the 2006 Metro League Champions back to their home court.
And the Miners gave their faithful plenty to cheer about, drubbing the Honkers 74-49 for their 11th-straight win. The last time Nevada Union was on the losing end of the score was 45 days ago against Newark Memorial, a six-point loss Jan. 7.
Throughout the winning streak, the one-point win Tuesday against Kennedy was the only game the Miners won by less than double digits.
Nevada Union came out firing from behind the 3-point arc early and once they began connecting, the game was over before it really began. The Miners led 19-10 after one quarter and went into halftime with a 41-17 lead.
Five different Miners – Tyler Smith, Brian Jackson, Jared Vogel, David Weberg and Nate Newport – hit 3-pointers in the first half, with Smith nailing two.
Vogel and Smith both had game-high 13 point performances with Smith adding seven rebounds. Neither starter played many minutes in the second half.
While it was senior night, Jackson – a junior – stole the spotlight, scoring a varsity career-high 11 points.
“Brian Jackson played some great minutes,” Nevada Union coach Jeff Dellis said. “He was shooting the ball well, attacking well and distributing the ball well.”
Of the team’s 14 players, 13 scored in the game with each player seeing fairly equal minutes in terms of playing time.
“It’s a coach’s dream to get all of the kids that much playing time,” Dellis said. “It was also a chance for people to get a taste of what the future will look like.”
At the end of the season, the Miners will say goodbye to nine senior players and two head managers – James Brindley, Smith, Vogel, Travis Edwards, Zach Wood, Weberg, Kevin Nelson, Eric Rasmussen, Joey Puleo, Brittany Spring and Marisa Ettlin.
The Miners (21-7 overall, 11-1 Metro) find out their playoff draw Sunday.
JV: Nevada Union 50, Yuba City 36
The Nevada Union junior varsity team led throughout the majority of the game and had no problem posting a 50-36 win.
“It’s a nice way to end the season,” Nevada Union coach Dale Latimer said. “Obviously, you want to end with a win. We finished the season above .500 with an 15-11 overall record and 11-3 league record.
“It was a nice year and a pleasure to work with the kids.”
Matt Anderson scored 15 points, while Nick Cancilla and Cole Stanford added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Frosh: Yuba City 58, Nevada Union 51
The Nevada Union freshman team ended the season with another down-to-the wire loss by a score of 58-51.
“We’ve just had trouble closing out all year,” Nevada Union coach Gene Smith said. “But I told the boys that freshman year it’s a development year. We were a better team in the second half of the season and consistently played 12-14 players every single night.”
Smith praised Kennan Morris’ play on the boards along with Dustin Sutton’s high level of play on both ends of the court.
To contact sportswriter Stacy Hicklin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4244.
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