The end of the road
GALT – It was a few minutes after the Nevada Union girls basketball team’s 42-38 loss to Sheldon (Sacramento) in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinal in Galt Saturday when Miner skipper Craig Strohm took a moment to reflect.
Strohm – who announced his retirement earlier this season after 20 years on the Miner bench – exited a tear-soaked final team meeting looking a little out of sorts.
“I’ve been trying to prepare myself, but I don’t know if I’m ready to wake up tomorrow morning and not be a basketball coach after 20 years,” he said. “But this was a great bunch of kids to go out with.”
“At the beginning of the season you look at the hand that’s dealt you and you say ‘How can we become the best possible basketball team by the end of the season we can possibly be?'” said Strohm, who finished his career with 430 games in the win column. “I think that’s really true for this group. They worked really hard to find themselves. We had a lot of different people step up at different times (over the year.)”
Miner senior guard Emma Kite, eyes still a little red from the team’s post-game meeting, credited Strohm for much more than his ability to teach the X’s and O’s of basketball.
“He’s one of those people who come along that have (such an impact) really that the full effects won’t be realized until years later,” she said. “I’ve learned everything from him. He taught me to work hard. He taught me to try. He taught me to take pride in things.”
‘There’s no way to describe (his) significance (in my life),” she added.
Thegoing was tough for the Miners as Sheldon’s defense flexed its collective muscles early.
NU drew first blood thanks to a Kayleigh Correll lay up in traffic, but was outscored 7-0 over the next four minutes.
“We knew Sheldon were big and physical,” Strohm said. “So whe you get an open shot, Boy you’d better fire away because it’s tough getting them.”
The Miners, thanks to clutch outside shooting from Correll and Tracy Malone and the low post play of Ali Daley and Molly Compton, climbed back into the game, eventually retaking the lead late in the second quarter.
Daley and Malone had nine points each to lead the way for NU. Correll finished with eight points. Compton chipped in four points off the bench.
“Once the girls started to settle down a little bit and started to read the defense a little more, we got some open looks and were able to get back in it.”
NU built a four point early in the second half, but struggled with turnovers and a tenacious Huskie defense to fall behind.
Down by six points with 3:20 left in regulation, the Miners reeled off a 4-0 run to cut the lead to a deuce.
With less than minute on the clock, NU had four looks at 3-pointers – including an Ali Parrot trey attempt which rimmed out with :10 left – but came up short on each.
“I believe in the 3-pointer, I love the 3-pointer, I’ve adopted the 3-pointer, so I think it’s very befitting that my career ends on a couple e which just wouldn’t rattle down,” Strohm said. ‘There have been 420 wins in my career in which they did. I’m grateful for the wins, but I’m also grateful for the losses because they’ve taught me so much more.”
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