Pick your poison
Defenses who have faced the Nevada Union boys basketball team for most of this season have found themselves in one heck of a pickle.
On one hand, opponents know they have to find a way to keep the Metro Conference’s leading scorer Jon Sheets from dropping 30 points on them.
But if they focus too much on Sheets, NU’s resident sharpshooter Gary Daley is camped out beyond the 3-point arc, just itching to let ’em fly.
While opposing coaches ponder that predicament, Miner head coach Jeff Dellis is all smiles.
“Jon plays on a different level than everyone else,” Dellis said. “He recognizes lanes and angles that a lot of kids (his age can’t). Jon’s like the kid in class with the 200 I.Q. He’s just brilliant on the court.
“Gary’s always been able to shoot the ball, but he’s taken it to the next level in terms of being a leader.”
Sheets, who helped lead the football team to the league title, then onto the Sacramento City Championship at quarterback last fall, has teamed with Daley to make one of the most devastating one-two punches in the area.
Sheets entered Wednesday’s homecourt showdown with league-leading Yuba City tops in the Metro in scoring (20.4 points per game), assists (103), is second in steals (51) and third in total 3-pointers (48).
“Jon can score on anyone and he knows it,” Daley said. “There will be times when he’ll be driving to the hoop and three guys will collapse on him. Then he’ll make the perfect pass.”
Daley’s also at the top of the league stat sheet.
He’s tied for the league lead in steals with John F. Kennedy’s (Sacramento) Terrell Lomack with 57.
He’s second in total 3-pointers (67), third in scoring (15.9 ppg) and fifth in total assists (52).
“Gary’s our shooter. But one thing people don’t know about him is he’s strong in the post,” Sheets said. “And he also doesn’t get a lot of credit for his defense. He’s very physical in the blocks. He always guards the other team’s tallest guy and he loves it.”
NU’s been clicking along recently with big league wins over Sacramento’s C.K. McClatchy and Kennedy, but that wasn’t the case in the preseason.
With Sheets, and a number of other players still playing football, the undermanned Miners fell on some rough times.
But it wasn’t all bad news.
Daley, who hadn’t been known as a scorer, was forced into the role.
“The beginning of the year was actually very helpful for our team. Not having everyone there made the players we had develop their games,” Daley said. “And it really helped me, too, because before this year I wasn’t a big-time scorer. But I knew I had to until Jon came back.”
And he has.
The 6-foot-1 guard/wing has scored over 20 points five times, including a career-high 27 points twice. He’s hit 4-plus 3-pointers in a game six times and five in a game three times.
“Gary’s not only one of the best 3-point shooters in the league or area, but in the section,” Dellis added.
As for Sheets, Dellis said his role is multi-faceted.
“He does a little bit of everything for us,” he said. “He has to initiate the offense, score, defend their best guard and lead by example.”
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