Team all had hand in final shot |

Team all had hand in final shot

As Nicole Sheets approached the team huddle with Saturday’s playoff game hanging in the balance, she flashed Nevada Union girls Craig Strohm a look that could only be interpreted one way.

Gimme the rock.

So with less than two seconds left, Sheets did get the ball for the final shot of the game. A quick fake of a Will C. Wood defender, and she launched a shot from just beyond the three-point line.

Her initial thought was that it was going in. It did not. Wood won and advanced to the third round with a 40-38 victory.

Now the same girl who wanted the ball on Saturday wanted responsibility for the loss. It is near impossible for the competitive Sheets to see it any other way.

This time, however, her request should be denied.

“We knew we had to prepare for this game as if Kayleigh (Correll) could not be there, and Nicole stepped up and was outstanding,” Strohm said.

Last year, Sheets hit a game-winning trey in a similar situation. Though by her own admission her shooting performance this year had wavered at times, she had three treys in NU’s biggest victory of the season against Kennedy less than two weeks earlier.

If that is not enough to convince one that the final shot of the game should have Sheets’ fingerprints on it, consider this: Nicole Sheets was far and away NU’s player of the game Saturday.

Moved to point guard to replace an ailing Correll, Sheets had 16 points and six rebounds against Wood. She took the first shot of the game, a three-pointer, and made it. She also made NU’s final basket of the game.

Sheets wanted to end Saturday’s contest the same way she started it. Given the chance, she’d do it all over again. Chances are pretty high her teammates would let her do it, too.

Sheets, a captain, did whatever it took to help make this year’s team the success it was. Team unity was built from the top and helped the squad endure untimely injuries and illnesses.

“Through the four years we girls have played together, Nicole has been the heart and soul of our team,” Mackenzie Murphy said.

That heart was aching after Saturday’s game.

Anyone who witnessed the game will tell you it obviously wasn’t beating alone.

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