EL DORADO — Union Mine High’s varsity boys basketball team fell to an experienced River City squad, 58-37, Thursday at the Snake Pit in a Sierra Valley Conference contest.
The Diamondbacks (1-3, 5-11) held their guests to 23 points in the second half, but couldn’t finish at the rim consistently enough to build a comeback.
“We knew going into this game that River City would be better than us,” Union Mine head coach Mike Verbitsky said. “We have a very young team and couldn’t finish throughout the night — there were some moments where the boys played great basketball, we played better defense in the second half — but we knew it was going to be a tough game.”
Had Union Mine come out with the same intensity as the second half starting from tip-off, the result may have been different. As it was, River City leaped ahead with a 17-point first quarter that left the D’Backs with a meager five points.
Union Mine’s offense picked up a bit in the second quarter, generating 10 – but a lack of defensive stops gave up another 18 points to the visitors and left the hosts down 35-15 at half.
“They came out ready to play,” Verbitsky said. “And we weren’t ready to play ball in the first half.”
D’back Brett Owens utilized his perimeter shooting skills in the second quarter to give Union Mine a late boost, drilling back-to-back three pointers that gave his bench vocal chords and fans a bit of hope.
“Brett (Owens) did a great job tonight,” Verbitsky said. “He came out and made some big shots on offense, and had a solid defensive game. A lot of the guys on this team are young and still adjusting to this level of play — but they’re all working hard to get better and these experiences are only going to help us get better.”
Union Mine’s Mikey O’Neill had a team high 10 points on the night, while Owens finished with nine and Andrew Vaughn contributed eight.
Brody Pearman, who was a true hustler on both ends of the court for Union Mine, finished with four points. Austin Russell had three points while Austin Helmholtz finished with a pair and Tyler Parker hit a free throw to round out the scoring for Union Mine.
Union Mine plays Sierra Valley Conference and intra-county foe El Dorado at the Cougars’ den on Tuesday.