One minute, 49 seconds are left in overtime, with Nevada Union trailing Elk Grove 53-49. Miners coach Duwaine Ganskie draws a play in a timeout for Olympia Jacobs to get the ball at the top of the 3-point line. The Ali Gymnasium, mostly filled, is alive with hundreds of fans on their feat at their loudest.
There’s 1:38 left when Jacobs gets the pass from Caroline Reeves, who had cut to the basket and drawn a double team. Pressure?
Jacobs buried it to cut the lead to one, and on NU’s next possession – after the Thundering Herd scored to make it a three-point advantage – Reeves hit a 3 of her own to push the game to double overtime, where the Miners held Elk Grove scoreless to win 60-55.
“For some reason, I don’t know why,” Jacobs said, “It’s double overtime, but I know it’s going to be OK.”
Earlier in the game the No. 2-seeded Miners thought they wouldn’t have much trouble against the No. 15-seed Herd in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
“In the beginning we were thinking it was going to be easy,” NU sophomore Christian Woodruff said. Woodruff, who finished with eight points, scored the first points of double overtime to take a 57-55 lead.
Elk Grove showed little to support its next-to-worst ranking in the section tournament, as the Herd led the entire first quarter and swapped leads with the Miners the rest of the way.
But they had no idea what to do with Sarah McAtee.
McAtee was the only NU player to score consistently from beginning to end, hitting the first shot of the game for the Miners as well as the second to last. She finished with a team-high 17 points, despite playing with bronchitis.
“I thought (McAtee’s) inside play saved us,” Ganskie said. “They didn’t have an answer for Sarah.”
Barely able to breathe after the game, McAtee said there was no doubt she would play in the second round. The Miners play at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 10-seed Edison at Galt High School, which beat NU 49-46 Dec. 30.
Reeves, also a sophomore, hit two free throws to go ahead 60-55 with 25.8 seconds left. She finished with 16.
The Miners’ defense played as large a role as the offense in capturing the win. Although NU allowed Elk Grove sophomore Kara Boyles 23 points and freshman Kelani Desoto 22, it forced big plays in times of need.
Reeves wouldn’t allow Desoto to get in position to take a shot at the end of regulation, and the Miners forced a turnover by the Herd to send the game to a second overtime.
Reeves started double overtime by blocking a Desoto shot, and later forced a bad pass that slid into the backcourt on Elk Grove’s final possession.
But in the first half the Miners were playing a different game. As the Herd began showing Nevada Union that they were no pushovers, NU got the jitters.
“I wasn’t expecting Elk Grove to be this good,” Reeves said. “We stopped running all the way through our offense.”
“We just started throwing it up,” Woodruff said.
NU grabbed its first lead at 16-15 with 6:07 left in the second quarter.
The Miners will have two mental antagonists to overcome by Saturday: The No. 15 seed took a home game to double overtime, and now they’re on the road to a higher-ranked team that has already beaten them.
“It all depends on how bad we want it,” Woodruff said.
MINERS 60, THUNDERING HERD 55, 2OT
Elk Grove 13 10 16 10 6 0 – 55
Nevada Union 9 17 15 8 6 5 – 60
ELK GROVE (55)
Kara Boyles 6 7-7 23, Kelani Desoto 10 1-1 22, Brittany Reed 0 2-4 2, Monique Ybarra 0 2-2 2, Meghan McDermott 2 2-4 6, Ashley Jacobs 0 0-1 0. Totals 18 14-19 55.
NEVADA UNION (60)
Sarah McAtee 6 5-6 17, Caroline Reeves 5 5-8 16, Maria Viola 3 0-0 6, Mackey Purkey 0 1-3 1, Christian Woodruff 4 0-0 8, Lauren Wordell 0 3-4 3, Olympia Jacobs 4 0-3 9. Totals 22 14-24 60.
3-pointers: Elk Grove 5 (Boyles 4, Desoto 1), Nevada Union 2 (Reeves 1, Jacobs 1).
Fouls: Elk Grove 15, Nevada Union 15. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none.
In addition to Bear River’s Lauren Juric being named Pioneer Valley League Most Valuable Player, teammates Chandre Uno and Kristin Landre were also recognized on the all-league teams.
Uno, the Bruins’ sophomore starting point guard, earned first-team all-league honors after averaging 8.1 points and 3.5 assists per game. She has held down the starting spot at point guard for the past two seasons.
League coaches recognized senior guard Kristin Landre on the honorable mention all-league team. A two-year varsity starter, Landre finished with 6.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
– The Union staff
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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.