Miners go deep to bury Eagles

By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
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The Del Oro Golden Eagles were victimized Tuesday night by the same weapon they’ve used to bury so many opponents. In a battle between Sierra Foothill League contenders, Nevada Union finished 9-for-16 from beyond the arc, including four unanswered 3-pointers to close out the first half of a 65-48 win over Del Oro at the 67th Kendall Arnett Tournament. The Miners (8-4) advanced to their second Arnett title game in as many appearances. Nevada Union hasn’t participated in the tournament since it beat Placer 54-52 to win the championship in 2005. The Miners also forced 17 turnovers and outrebounded the Eagles, who lost their Arnett semifinal for the second straight year. “They were getting position on us,” said Del Oro junior forward Spencer Butterfield, who had 19 points and 13 rebounds, both game-highs. “We were just wussing out. We needed to be tougher and move some bodies down there. I think they took us by surprise a little bit down low and outplayed us physically.” After graduating 6-foot-9 center Casey Arent, 6-foot-7 post Josiah Jungsten and 6-foot-5 guard Ryan Otten, the Eagles lack significant height in the paint. “We’re undersized against every single team we play, but we’re used to it by now so it’s not an excuse,” Del Oro head coach Geoff Broyles said. “We know how to block out and we know how to get the rebound. We just need to continue to work. We’ll come up with those loose balls next time.” Del Oro (9-2) led by as many as six on a 3-pointer by junior forward John Root with 2:40 left in the first quarter, a shot that put the Eagles ahead 14-8 before the Miners closed out the quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 16-14 advantage, one they never relinquished. “We became very impatient offensively,” Broyles said. “We came down four possessions in a row and made one pass and took a shot. It allowed them to get back in it and take the lead.” The Miners’ hot 3-point hands helped them turn a 24-21 lead midway through the second quarter into a commanding 36-21 advantage at the break. “We felt like we were in the game from the beginning, but when they’re hitting 3-pointers like that it’s tough to battle back,” Butterfield said. Yet battle the Eagles did. Trailing 40-21 with 7:28 left in the third quarter, they narrowed the gap to 50-43 over the next seven minutes. “We battled our tails off in the third quarter and had three possessions in a row where we could have cut it even more,” Broyles said. “We had good shots they just didn’t go. I think we just expended so much energy trying to get even that we could never quite get back to that spot. We were short on a few shots and all of a sudden they got a couple of runs.” Aaron Hendricks scored 12 for the Eagles and Root finished with eight points. Mark Kendall scored a team-high 14 points and nailed a trio of 3-pointers for the Miners. Marc Hopkinson and Kenyan Olsen each added 11 points, while Olsen made all three treys he attempted. “People notice the 3-pointers, but I think our defensive pressure is what did it for us,” Nevada Union head coach Dale Latimer said. “We didn’t defend the perimeter shooting as well as we should have,” Broyles said. “We didn’t identify shooters as well as we should have. We’ll have to make that adjustment next time we play them.” The Eagles travel to Nevada Union on Jan. 20 in their fourth SFL contest of the season.