Meet the Bee’s 2019 All-Metro girls basketball Player of the Year Jzaniya Harriel
Sacramento Bee 2018-19 Girls Coach of the Year
Scott Gilliland, Union Mine High School
Scott Gilliland enjoyed championship basketball success during his high school days in South Tahoe a generation ago, so he wanted to bring some of that fun and flavor with him as a head coach.
It took time, but Gilliland’s emphasis on fundamentals and effort has left a lasting impression with Union Mine in El Dorado.
Gilliland endured an 8-14 campaign in his first season as coach in 2015-16 before going 28-3 a year ago and 23-9 this season, including an historic march through the CIF Northern California playoffs, earning him The Bee’s Coach of the Year honor.
After falling in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV final to two-time defending CIF State champion West Campus of Sacramento 49-45 in overtime, Union Mine regrouped and took off.
Moved up to Division III and stuck with a No. 16 seed in the new CIF competitive-equity model, the Diamondbacks stunned top-seeded Christian Brothers 54-47 in a NorCal opener, then beat Aragon in San Mateo 46-34, toppled Seaside 55-29 and finally ran out of gas in a 49-38 NorCal final loss at Oakland, which went on to win the CIF State title.
Gilliland and his team were recognized at halftime of the March 21 Kings game at Golden 1 Center as the region’s Team of the Year for the annual Pete Saco Awards, presented to teams that exemplify character, sportsmanship and achievement.
“The first thing that comes to mind is the resiliency (our team) showed all season,” Gilliland said. “We battled injuries and illnesses all November and December, which all teams do, but I’ve never had a team just stay so positive.
“They kept trying to get better every day, and just relied on one another so much. Every setback this team faced, opening league loss to Bradshaw (Christian), overtime loss to West Campus in the section final and a 16 seed in D-3 NorCals, they responded with strength, resolve and determination. They cared about the result far more than who got the credit, and that’s what I will always look back on with pride.”