PREP BASKETBALL: A look at Nevada Union, Bear River and Forest Lake Christian at the midway point of league play |

PREP BASKETBALL: A look at Nevada Union, Bear River and Forest Lake Christian at the midway point of league play

As the regular season heads into its final few weeks the Nevada Union, Bear River and Forest Lake Christian boys basketball teams are immersed in league play.

For the Miners and Bruins, who are both at the bottom of their respective leagues, making the playoffs would take an incredible second half surge. For the Falcons, the playoffs are within reach and so is a league title.

As the local high school teams make their way down the final stretch of league games we take a look at what they have accomplished so far and what is left on the schedule.


Despite a 4-9 record in non-league play, Forest lake Christian head coach Brian Metz knew if he could get his players to buy into his system they would be a force to be reckoned with.

Four games into the Central Valley California League season it looks like the Falcons have found their stride, winning three of their first four league games. Heading into Friday night’s game with Victory Christian, the Falcons look poised to make a playoff run and contend for a CVCL title.

“Our guys are buying into a process and I’ve been saying, ‘Trust the process.’” Metz said after his team crushed Delta, 73-32, Tuesday.

SO FAR: The Falcons, who sit in second place in the CVCL, have wins over Foresthill (6-14 overall, 2-2 CVCL), Woodland Christian (3-13, 0-4) and Delta (3-8, 2-2 CVCL), with their lone loss coming against highly touted Sacramento Waldorf (18-2, 4-0). In their three league wins, the Falcons are averaging 64.7 points per game and allowing 47.7 points per game.

STANDOUTS: Senior Brett Soria leads the Falcons with 17 points per game to go with 4.5 steals per game. The talented guard is joined at the forefront of the FLC charge by freshmen call up Luke Gilliland who has been impressive in his first four league games, averaging 19.3 points per league game. Freshmen J.R. Malloy, who was also called up to varsity for league play, is already making his presence known with 5.8 ppg and 7 rebounds per game. Seniors Andrew Barrozo, Josh McClain and Josh McDonald have all been impact players as well.

WHAT’S LEFT: The Falcons begin the second half of their league schedule Tuesday at Foresthill. They then have three straight home games against Woodland Christian, Victory Christian and Sacramento Waldorf before closing the league season Feb. 14 at Delta.

NEVADA UNION (10-12, 1-6 SFL)

The Miners have found it difficult to earn wins in Sierra Foothill League play this season. A year after winning five SFL games and earning a playoff berth, the Miners have sunk to the bottom of the league. Through the first half of Sierra Foothill League play NU has managed just one win.

Nevada Union co-head coach Mark Casey said he knew it would be a tough season, having lost four of last season’s starters to graduation, but said he likes the direction his young team is headed.

“We lack size and we lost a ton of seniors, but I’m really glad with the progress we’ve made,” he said earlier this season. “We’ve played with a lot of effort and I’m pleased with where we are at.”

SO FAR: Nevada Union’s lone league victory came against Del Oro (13-9 overall, 3-4 SFL). The Golden Eagles avenged that loss though, beating the Miners Friday night. NU has also lost close battles with Rocklin (11-10, 2-4), Granite Bay (13-8, 4-2) and Oak Ridge (9-12, 2-4), and have lost by large margins to Woodcreek (19-2, 6-0) and Folsom (16-5, 4-2).

STANDOUTS: The Miners are led on a nightly basis by senior small forward Gary Menary and junior guard Jack Fraser. NU also has several up and coming players in sophomore guard Cole Loper, sophomore Dawson Fay, junior Owen Dal Bon and freshmen Justin Gardner who are gaining valuable experience at the varsity level.

WHAT’S LEFT: Nevada Union has five league games left, starting with two home games next week against Woodcreek and Oak Ridge. The Miners then face Granite Bay on the road and Folsom at home before closing the season Feb. 15 at Rocklin.

BEAR RIVER (6-15, 0-5 PVL)

The Bruins are a young team with two freshmen and two sophomores in their starting lineup, and while there are obstacles that come with having such a youthful squad, head coach Gregg Pistochini said his team is growing up fast and playing inspired basketball.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Pistochini said. “We’ve competed in every game… Our end game is to knock down some (Pioneer Valley League) wins and continue to get better.”

SO FAR: Bear River has yet to win a PVL game this season, losing to Placer (18-3 overall, 3-1 PVL), Colfax (13-8, 2-2), Center (13-6, 4-1), Lincoln (10-12, 2-3) and Foothill (11-10, 3-2). The silver lining is the Bruins have been competitive in each game. Bear River held halftime leads against Lincoln and Colfax and was within striking distance in the second half of games against Placer and Center.

STANDOUTS: Bear River senior Rhiley Harrison earned a spot in the starting lineup midway through the season and has since shown he belongs there. Harrison, the lone senior in the Bruins starting lineup, is leading the team in scoring through their five league games. Bear River has also counted on freshmen Bradley Smith and Brek Vasquez to step up as well as sophomores Garrett Pratt and Calder Kunde as they battle through their PVL slate.

WHAT’S LEFT: The Bruins open the back half of their league schedule Wednesday at home against Placer. They then travel to face Colfax Friday, have a pair of home games against Center and Lincoln the following week, and close the league season Feb. 15 at Foothill.

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

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