PREP BASKETBALL: Miners, Bruins, Falcons all in playoff contention with few games left
The Foothill Valley League title is up for grabs.
With just three games left for each of the FVL combatants, all six of the boys basketball teams are within one game of each other in the standings.
“It’s really going to come down to who makes plays that night,” said Nevada Union head coach Mark Casey. “For us, really, it’s who is going to make shots.”
There is a three-way tie for first between Oakmont (15-5, 4-3 FVL), Ponderosa (15-10, 4-3), and Lincoln (17-8, 4-3) with Nevada Union (9-16, 3-4), Placer (10-15, 3-4) and Rio Linda (9-11, 3-4) right behind.
There are three automatic playoff spots allotted to the FVL. The playoffs tip off Feb. 18.
The Miners won Wednesday’s league bout with Oakmont, beating the Vikings, 58-57, at Albert Ali Gymnasium.
NU got a big game from sophomore forward Milo Goehring with 21 points. Senior guard Riley Cotton added 10 points, senior wing Mans Hassler followed with nine points and senior wing Charles Wilcoxen chipped in eight points.
“Give the kids credit for keeping their heads up. They could of just cashed it out,” said Casey, noting NU’s loss to Placer last week that dropped them to 2-4 in league play.
Wednesday’s victory improved the Miners to 3-0 against league foes at home. They are 0-4 on the road.
“We’re comfortable at home,” said Casey. “We shoot it a lot better at home.”
The Miners are shooting 57% from the field and 40% from 3-point range in league games at Ali Gym. When on the road, the Miners shoot in the mid-30s from the field and hit just 22% of their attempts from deep.
Nevada Union has their final road game of the season tonight at Ponderosa. The Miners beat the Bruins, 61-54, when they met at Ali Gym Jan. 21.
Nevada Union closes its league slate with a pair of home games next week against Lincoln (7:30 p.m., Wednesday) and Rio Linda (7:30 p.m., Feb. 14).
Casey said NU’s ability to earn a playoff spot will come down to hitting shots and limiting mistakes.
“We need to take care of the ball,” he said. “We’re going to be in every game down the stretch and have chances to win.”
The Miners went 5-5 in FVL play a season ago, finishing fourth and just missing out on the playoffs. The last time the Miners were in the postseason was 2016.
Nevada Union’s freshman basketball team also earned a win Wednesday, topping Oakmont, 51-47, thanks to a 27-14 run that spanned the second and third quarters.
Leading the freshman Miners was Chase Nye with 14 points. Brett Cota and Dylan Lampe each chipped in nine points and James Kinney added seven.
The win improves the Miners to 10-13 overall and 4-3 in FVL play.
BRUINS IN THE MIX
The Bruins dropped their contest with league leader Marysville, 59-51, Wednesday and now have some work to do if they hope to grab one of the three playoff spots allotted to the Pioneer Valley League.
Bear River (8-14, 3-4 PVL) is currently in fourth place in the PVL, behind Marysville (15-9, 6-1), Foothill (5-18, 5-2) and Center (11-12, 5-2).
The Bruins have three games left on their league slate, facing Colfax (6-15, 1-6) today on the road, Center at home next Wednesday and Lindhurst (6-14, 1-6) at home Feb. 14. Bear River beat Colfax, 62-52, and Lindhurst, 55-42, earlier this season, but lost their first contest with Center, 76-68, on the road.
The Bruins likely have to win out to overtake Center or Foothill. Center does close with a brutal stretch, facing Marysville, Foothill and Bear River. Foothill has Center, Marysville and Colfax left on its schedule.
A season ago, the Bruins went 6-4 in PVL play, tied Foothill for third place and snapped a seven season postseason drought.
FALCONS IN A HOLE AFTER 3-GAME SKID
Forest Lake Christian has hit a rough patch recently, dropping three straight close bouts in the league play.
After a two-point loss to Sac Waldorf, an eight-point loss to Delta and a two-point loss to Foresthill, the Falcons are now 10-13 overall and more importantly 5-6 in league play. They are currently in fifth place in the standings behind leader Woodland Christian (17-8, 10-1 CVCL), Foresthill (19-5, 9-2), Sac Waldorf (17-9, 7-4) and Victory Christian (11-9, 6-5). Like the FVL and PVL, the CVCL gets three automatic playoff spots.
The Falcons close out their league schedule with home games against Futures (6-17, 3-8) today and Woodland Christian Feb. 14. Their lone road game left on the schedule is at Victory Christian next Tuesday.
Last year, FLC finished tied for third in the CVCL and reached the playoffs for the third season in a row.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4232.
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