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PREP BASKETBALL: Nevada Union’s comeback falls short against Lincoln

The way the Miners see it, every one of their remaining games is their most important game of the season.

That’s the approach they’re taking and, with just six league games left, that sense of urgency and focus is a necessity for a team looking to earn their way into the postseason.

“Every night is our most important game. Every single night,” Nevada Union boys basketball head coach Mark Casey said. “We are playing for our league lives, our playoff lives.”



That’s the mindset the Miners have and it’s why the tight-knit group continues to grind, even when down by a large margin in the fourth quarter like they were Thursday night against Foothill Valley League leader Lincoln.

After falling behind by 18 points in the fourth quarter to a Lincoln squad that has yet to lose in league play, the Miners could have packed it in and saved their energy for the next game. They didn’t. They dug in and battled all the way to the end. They charged back, outscoring the Zebras 18-7 in the fourth quarter and pulled to within four points with a minute left in the game. They couldn’t quite complete the comeback and fell 54-50, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.



“This is a close group, a fun group to coach,” said Casey. “You can see there is no quit in them. We were down by 18 and a lot of teams will just quit. They put their heads down and they just quit. These guys stay in games, they stay bought in and they rev it up even harder.”

The Miners got strong play in the paint from senior forward David O’Looney, who scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Freshman forward Milo Goehring also had 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end.

Senior guard Ryan Werner added nine points, and Riley Japhet-Gekas, also a senior guard, finished with eight points.

Lincoln was led by guard Jake Overbay, who scored a game-high 20 points and hit five 3-pointers, one of which came from half court to beat the third quarter buzzer.

As a team, the Zebras hit 11 3-pointers, seven of which came in the first half.

With the loss, the Miners (9-13, 2-2 FVL) are now tied with with Ponderosa for third place in the league standings. Lincoln (16-6, 4-0) sits atop the standings, and Placer (13-9, 3-1) is in second place. NU’s two league losses (Placer and Lincoln) have come by a combined total of eight points.

Nevada Union’s next game is a home bout with Rio Linda (3-15, 0-4), which will mark the halfway point of league play.

“If we can get out of the first half (of league play) at 3-2, that puts on track to be 6-4, maybe a little better,” said Casey. “That said, we can get beat on any given night so we will not lose our focus.”

The junior varsity Miners won a pair of league games this week, topping Ponderosa, 63-51, on Tuesday and beating Lincoln, 60-51, Thursday.

Leading the JV Miners against Lincoln was Charles Wilcoxen with 15 points. J.T. Conway added 14 points, and Jaxon Horne chipped in 13.

In the win over Ponderosa, Wilcoxen led the charge with 23 points, including seven 3-pointers. Horne followed with 14 points, and Conway added 12.

The JV Miners are now 14-6 overall and 2-1 in FVL play.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.


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