Season finale marks fifth straight defeat for Miners
As the Nevada Union seniors Chris Biertuempfel, Dan Pettinato, Peter MacDonald, Cole Britton, Robert Correll, Kevin Lynch and Austin Stout stood with their parents at Ali Gymnasium Friday night, with a moment in time to celebrate their high school basketball careers.
NU coach Dale Latimer stayed with the theme of the night, giving all seven of his seniors quality minutes, offering a going away party that was very well attended.
Oakmont scored off the opening tip and Miners missed their first three shots before turning the ball over on the next two possessions.
NU trailed most of the way and fell 65-55 to close out its season.
The Miners (11-15, 3-9) started the fourth quarter trailing 47-35 and did give the Vikings (18-6, 8-3) a scare before the final buzzer, when junior Cody Wilcox hit back to back 3-point shots for his only points on the night.His threes cut the lead to 12, while Colin Lee followed up with one of his own threes off of a Biertuempfel steal with 2:41 to play.
Oakmont party crasher, senior Tony Gill, scored 10 of his 23 in the quarter to lead all scorers.
The Vikings spent most of the fourth quarter running the clock before going down low to Gill.
Miners Chris Porter, Wilcox and Lee each hit two threes, as the Miners shot 7-for-12 in the quarter and 22-for-54 for the game.
“Cody doesn’t take those shots often, but we know how good a shooter he is, Latimer said. “It caught them by off guard.”
Nevada Union stayed close in the first half by shooting 8-for-15 from the floor including a 70-foot halftime buzzer beater by senior MacDonald. Pettinato went 6-for-7 from the charity stripe to finish the first half with 12 and the game with 14.
The home team did give the ball away on 12 of 20 possessions in the first half, while the visitors turned it over six times in the first half and nine in the second.
“We had just too many turnovers,” Latimer said.
In the first quarter, Nevada Union’s Lee hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game at 9-9. As Oakmont set up its offense at the other end, a streaker ran across the gymnasium holding a blue Miners flag wearing a yellow mask, but the games action did not stop or even slow down.
The quarter closed 13-11 with Oakmont in front.
NU dropped its last five games to close out the season, where the Vikings have been 7-1 in their last 8 games and are expected to go deep into the playoffs. Oakmont started the week as a fifth-rated team.
“Someone will have to lose for us to move up,” Oakmont coach Rick Campbell said. “This is a tough place to play (Ali Gymnasium).” “I have seen it all tonight, a streaker, a 70-foot shot and the scoreboard dying in the third quarter.”
The Sierra Foothill League will be sending five of its seven teams into the postseason, including Division II, fourth-rated Woodcreek, fifth Oakmont, sixth Rocklin, 14th Granite Bay, as well as Division III Del Oro, which is rated seventh.
Nevada Union and Roseville are on the outside looking in.
“The SFL is the best,” Campbell said. “You have to play every night and its tough to win on the road.”
Due to the leagues strength Granite Bay will make the playoffs with a 4-7 SFL record.
Some of the Nevada Union seniors have been playing basketball together since the fourth grade.
“They have been with me for three years,” Latimer said. “They are great kids.”
MacDonald said he was going to try and play basketball at a junior college next season.
“I hope it works out for me,” MacDonald said.
Scott P. Hopper is a sports writer for The Union. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4231.
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