Galena boys basketball comes back to beat Douglas 56-48

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RENO-For three quarters on Tuesday night, Douglas boys basketball coach Keith Lewis thought his team was well on their way to a win over Galena, one of the favorites to win the High Desert League. But in the fourth quarter, the Tigers, who have only three varsity returners, showed their inexperience as the Grizzlies scored 27 points in the final quarter for a 56-48 come-from-behind victory over Douglas at Galena High.

"For three quarters, we played outstanding defense," Lewis said. "But then in the fourth, we got away from the defense that got us the lead and then they got some quick shots. I think our inexperience showed a bit in that last quarter when we got into a pressure situation."

Trailing 23-22 at half-time, Douglas held Galena to only six points in the third quarter before taking a 37-29 lead with 7:33 left in the game. But Joe Heaton led the Grizzly comeback by scoring 10 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter.

Down 45-43, Heaton's 3-pointer with 2:44 remaining gave Galena a 46-45 lead and then his 3-pointer with 1:38 left gave the Grizzlies a 51-48 lead. On the Tigers next possession, Heaton stole the ball near mid-court and coasted for an easy lay-up that sealed the game, giving Galena a five-point lead. His two free throws with only seconds remaining finished the scoring at 56-48.

"Heaton's a great player, a great shooter," Lewis said. "But I fully expected to win the game, even though they are a lot of people who don't know about us. I hope to surprise some people and we were right there tonight but we let it slip away."

The Grizzlies' 6'9 Travis Williams, who was benched most of the game because of foul trouble, was held to only four points. He was kept in check by the Tigers' Robby Honer, who at 6'2, was able to negate Williams from getting position down low. But in fourth quarter and playing with four fouls, Williams made a pair of free throws that brought Galena to within 39-37. And then his lay-up with three minutes left in the game gave Galena a 43-42 lead, its first lead since early in the third quarter.

"We have to do a better job of getting the ball down low," said Galena coach Tom Maurer. "We didn't use our height advantage until late in the game."

Galena relied heavily on its perimeter players, led by Heaton and Sam Sikes, who had 13 points. Sikes and point guard Chase Altom continually pressured the Douglas guards, creating some easy fast-break baskets for Galena. Most of the game, however, the Tigers effectively beat the Galena press.

"We did a good job of not turning the ball over when they pressed us and we actually got some easy baskets of our own," Lewis said. "But their pressure really hurt us in the fourth quarter."

Douglas was led by Seth Lee, who scored a game-high 25 points, 18 of them in the second half. Will Thomas had six points while Matt Saylo came off the bench and also scored six points for the Tigers.

Douglas (0-1) next plays in the South Tahoe Viking Classic, which starts Thursday. Galena (1-0), meanwhile, continues its brutal early season schedule this weekend with two games in the Bay area. The Grizzlies will play St. Ignatius, the Bay area's top-ranked team, and then Oakland Castlemont in their next game before hosting Reno next Tuesday at 7 p.m.


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