RENO - It may have been at a snail's pace but the Galena High boys basketball team picked up its biggest win of the season thus far, beating St. Francis, Calif., 43-38 on Friday night at Galena High. In the process, the Grizzlies disrupted everything the Lancers did in their 78-52 win over McQueen on Thursday, starting with their star player, junior David Chiotti.
Chiotti had 21 points against McQueen, but scored only seven points against Galena on 3-of-9 shooting.
"Defensively, they just gave us different looks and it seemed at times that they had 40 guys around David," St. Francis coach Steve Filios said.
In the second half, Chiotti (6-9, 230 pounds) didn't score until there was 5:10 left in the game. He finished with 10 rebounds, five of them offensive but never got into a groove offensively.
"He's a blue chipper, no doubt about that," Galena coach Tom Maurer said. "He's strong, has great moves, and he shoots the ball extremely well. But as a team, we did a good job defensively on him."
A player who had no problem getting into the flow offensively was the Grizzlies' Joe Heaton. For the second straight game, Heaton finished with 20-plus points, picking up 25 against the Lancers, including all nine of Galena's points in the first quarter. He also scored 20 in an 85-71 win over Bonita Vista, Calif., on Thursday.
"His name should be HEAT-ON," Maurer said. "He just hit clutch shot after clutch shot."
Leading 9-7 after the first quarter, Heaton scored four points in the second to give Galena its largest lead of the game at 19-12. The Grizzlies also led by seven points in the third quarter before St. Francis battled back. Up 41-38 with nine seconds remaining in the game, Heaton calmly sank two free throws to finish the scoring at 43-38.
Throughout the game, Galena's patience on offense frustrated the Lancers. In California, there is a 35-second shot clock in boys basketball games. In Nevada, there is no such rule.
"They controlled tempo the entire game and that disrupted us," Filios said. "But I think it's good for us to play different styles because in order to be a great team, you need to know how to play any team with any style of play."
Last weekend against St. Ignatius, Galena (4-2) was pounded 64-20, partly because Filios thought they had trouble adjusting to the shot clock.
"They shot the ball a lot better against us than in their game against St. Ignatius," Filios said. "But we knew they were better than what they showed in the Bay Area last weekend."
Maurer isn't convinced that the shot clock would've made a difference in Friday's game.
"We only had four or five possessions where we held the ball for more than 35 seconds," Maurer said. "So I'm not so sure it would've made a difference, but I'd be interested to see how the game would turn out with a shot clock."
For the past five seasons, Galena and St. Francis (1-1) have played one other, with the Grizzlies holding a 3-2 series lead. The Lancers, who are preseason ranked No. 16 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, had won the past two games.
"We've been playing each for awhile now and I know Steve (Filios) has the utmost respect for me and I have twice as much for him," Maurer said. "Believe me, this team will be a power, this loss isn't going to set them back.
"They had to handle adversity. Their players slept in a hotel bed and our players slept in their homes. So playing in a different environment probably made a difference."
Galena hosts Jefferson (Daly City, Calif.) today at 1 p.m.