One to go – Miners a win away from conference championship
Way back in early January, when the 2005 Metro Conference basketball season was about tip off, Nevada Union’s Miners were 4-10 on the year.
Who would have believed, that a little more than a month later, the Miners would be within one game of a third-straight league championship?
Jeff Dellis and his Miners, that’s who.
Nevada Union made its head coach look pretty smart Friday night, as the Miners routed McClatchy 74-45 in what many anticipated as a highly-contested matchup between the Metro’s top two teams.
Instead, a packed Ali Gymnasium was treated to 32-minute NU highlight film on what was the Miners’ annual Winter Homecoming Night.
NU (13-12 overall, 8-2 Metro) jumped out to a 12-7 lead after one quarter and then pushed that margin to 25-9 by the midway point of the second period, when junior guard Kevin Nelson completed a three-point play by burying a free throw at the 3:50 mark.
“We wanted to get them back on their heels on our home floor,” said Nelson, who scored 15 points on a 5-of-8 shooting night. “We wanted to send a message that when you come to our place, you better bring your A-game or we’re going to get you right off the bat.”
In the previous meeting between the two teams, NU held a 30-17 lead at halftime but McClatchy pulled things together for 62-58 home win on Jan. 18. That loss was the last before the Miners went on their current six-game win streak.
On Friday, the Miners led 31-17 at the break, but NU left little doubt about the outcome by outscoring the Lions 19-10 in the third quarter.
“We finished the game,” Dellis said of the difference between the two matchups. “We played 32 minutes tonight.”
The Miners also got a balanced scoring attack, as five players reached double figures. Senior Brennan McFadden led NU with 16 points and nine rebounds. Juniors James Brindley, Travis Edwards and Tyler Smith each added 10 points. Edwards was perfect from the floor, burying all four of his attempts, including two three-pointers.
It’s no mistake that three of the five Miners in double figures were missing from the team for most of its 4-10 start to the season. As NU’s football team made a deep run in the playoffs, the Miners were without Brindley, McFadden and Smith until the football season came to a close.
Since the start of the Metro slate, at which point Dellis had his full roster at his disposal, Nevada Union has posted a 9-2 mark. And the six straight wins have put NU at the brink of capturing the league title outright.
“When I think of the kind of team we could be,” Dellis said, “I think you saw it tonight.”
The Metro’s second-place team Kennedy (13-11, 7-3), which beat Yuba City 76-67 Friday, travels to Grass Valley Wednesday for what will be the Miners’ second-straight matchup against the conference’s No. 2 team.
Nevada Union’s junior varsity beat McClatchy 61-54 Friday. The Miners were led by Dylan Davis’ 19 points, while Taylor Dever had 12 points and Brian Jackson scored 10. McClatchy was led by David Kunisaki’s 13 points.
McClatchy (7-4) 7 10 10 18 – 45
Nevada Union (8-2) 12 19 19 24 – 74
Actor Keoonla 5 7-8 18, Ben Duncan 2 2-3 7, Ryan Langen 1 1-3 3, Ken Lambert 0 0-0 0, Ladell Sanders 2 1-2 5, David Joshua 1 4-4 4, Sam Rice 2 0-0 4, Jamal Thomas 2 0-0 4, Willie Moore 0 0-0 0, Nick Barker 0 0-1 0, Nick Gibbs 0 0-0 0, Marco Gonzalez 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 15-21 45.
Nevada Union (74)
Kevin Nelson 5 3-3 15, Travis Edwards 4 0-0 10, Tyler Smith 5 0-0 10, Carter Latimer 0 0-0 0, Brennan McFadden 4 8-9 16, Scott Kerksieck 1 0-0 2, James Brindley 4 2-2 10, Jared Vogel 0 0-0 0, David Weberg 0 0-0 0, Zach Wood 1 2-2 4, Scott Baldwin 1 1-1 3, Derrick Fink 2 0-0 4, Joey Puleo 0 0-0 0, Adam Green 0 0-0 0, Bo Cassel 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 16-17 74.
Rebounds: McClatchy 26 (Sanders 7, Thomas 6); Nevada Union 35 (McFadden 9, Smith 6, Edwards 5, Kerksieck 5).
Three-point shooting: McClatchy 2-10 (Keoonla 1-2, Duncan 1-2); Nevada Union 4-6 (Nelson 2-3, Edwards 2-2, Smith 0-1).
Turnovers: McClatchy 14, Nevada Union 16
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Hank Sowell’s introduction to the game of golf came early as a set of clubs was among the gifts he received on his very first birthday.