SACRAMENTO — Kimee Mueller started the second quarter for the Union Mine High girls basketball team with a basket. Then teammate Deyanira Ventura scored.
That gave the Lady Diamondbacks (20-8) a 4-0 run over Bradshaw Christian in Tuesday ‘s first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs. Unfortunately, the damage was done back in the first quarter when the host Pride raced to a 25-0 lead that gave them a 62-28 victory.
Mueller was the Lady D’backs’ leading scorer with eight points and five rebounds. One of six seniors on the team, Mueller felt the D’backs were more focused on playing offense and defense in the second quarter.
“It was definitely nerves that got to us (in the first quarter),” Mueller said. “We played their pace, not our pace.”
In the first quarter, Union Mine committed a dozen turnovers thanks to Bradshaw Christian’s full-court press that started as soon any D’back inbounded the ball after a Pride basket. But in the second, Union mine adjusted on offense and passed the ball inside for points. Still, the Pride led 36-8 at halftime.
“I think we settled down and got adjusted to their defense,” Union Mine head coach Chris Del Rio said. “I think we finally decided, ‘yeah, we can do this’ but a little too late. We couldn’t get the missed shots out of our heads.”
Assistant coach and husband Dave Del Rio added, “Best team we’ve seen all season.”
The Pride forced the D’backs into 10 turnovers — including five within three minutes — for a 9-0 run to start the third quarter for a 45-8 lead. Bradshaw led 54-15 going into the final quarter.
Both coaches are excited what this year’s team did, and what’s to come. This year’s squad became the first in the program to post 20 wins in a season. The D’backs went 7-5 in the Sierra Valley Conference. Six seniors — Mueller, Ventura, Sonya Watson, Brianna Lara, Alex Smith and Madison Aliff — led the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals in most games.
In addition, five players — three sophomores and two juniors — are expected to return next winter. The Union Mine junior varsity squad went 8-4 in the Sierra Valley Conference this season and 15-7 overall.
“We are so proud of this team,” Chris Del Rio said. “They reached every goal we set for them. The seniors have been such leaders. We are losing a great group of kids who care for everybody on their team. We are really optimistic about our three sophomores and two returning juniors.”
Lara was next in scoring for Union Mine with four points. Junior Stephanie Preacher, sophomore Kinsey Del Rio, Aliff and Watson scored three points each. Ventura and Smith had two points each. Ventura had two blocked shots. Union Mine finished with 18 rebounds.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.