Senators, Grizzlies collide in regional opener

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Don't be misled by those records because Galena is the defending tournament champion and has won championships four of the last five years. The Grizzlies have also won four of their last five games.

The Senators went 11-1 to win their first league title in six years and now they're looking for their first Northern 4A tournament title since 1995.

"Galena's playing very well right now. They're a very disciplined team. They're well coached and they have good tradition, so it'll be a very tough game for us," Carson coach Bruce Barnes said.

Elko saw its High Desert League championship bid end with a 53-42 loss against Galena last Friday in a game played at Spanish Springs (because of the regional wrestling tournament held at Galena.

"One through four, there's not a lot of difference between any of the teams on that side, and I think Galena is playing as well as anyone right now," Barnes said.

Carson is coming off a big win of its own, a 77-58 Sierra League championship-clinching triumph at home against Hug on Friday.

"Carson right now is probably Northern Nevada's best team, and I'm not just saying that because they're playing us," Galena coach Tom Maurer said. "They've got the whole package. They're fundamentally sound, they're playing with confidence, they never panic, and Bruce has made some big-time adjustments throughout the year."

Offensively, 6-foot-5 senior Vince Inglima leads the Senators with a 21.7 point per game average.

"Who's going to guard Vince (Inglima)? You can't put a big guy on him because he's too quick, and a guard doesn't understand post defense. He's so multi-dimensional, that's why I think he's the Player of the Year in the North."

Inglima is hardly the only weapon the Senators have.

"(Adam) McKenzie is the best point guard in the North; he's going to be a handful for us. (Ryan) Buttner can destroy a team if he gets hot from the outside. And they have a lot of good complementary kids; Steve Hartman, Ricky Correlli, Ryan Henry, we need to be concerned with all of those kids."

Galena counters with an attack led by 6-3 senior Joe Heaton, a third-year varsity veteran who averages 16.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Heaton scored 18 points in Galena's win against Elko on Friday.

"Elko was a big win. You always want to go into a tournament on a high note," Maurer said. "The thing about our team, 10 of these kids have never played in a zone tournament. They've watched, but they've never been in the hot seat. Now, they're winning, they're excited, and they don't want the season to end."

While the regular season saw both league races come down to the final night, the tournament figures to offer more of the same.

"I think it's going to be a great tournament," Barnes said. "I don't know if there's a favorite. I think any one of four, five, or six teams could win it."

Two teams will get to the finals on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Spanish Springs. Those two teams will also be the North's representatives to the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Tournament next week at Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

"Whoever gets there is going to be well-deserved and they're going to represent the North well," Maurer said.


Douglas (10-15) lost its final regular season game on Saturday against Wooster 58-53 and then survived a three-way tie-breaker to earn the Sierra League's No. 4 seed. Reed (20-6) wrapped up the High Desert League title with a 65-60 win against McQueen on Friday.

"I think we'd better be ready to play," Douglas coach Keith Lewis said. "They play a lot like Paul Westhead's Loyola Marymount teams. They push the ball up the floor and they'll shoot 3 after 3 on you. The way they trap and press, we're obviously going to have to attack and play smart. They bring 11 guys in and out throughout the game and they play all-out all of the time."

Douglas will bank its hopes on the senior tandem of Will Thomas (19.0 points per game) and Erik Olson, both of whom are capable of scoring 30 points or more on any given night.

Lewis also expects to see a close, hard-fought tournament.

"This is one of those situations where you look at any of the eight teams and there are no definite locks for the state tournament," Lewis said. "It's just like we've said since the beginning of the season, that it was going to be a dogfight.


Whittell and Tonopah's boys will meet tonight in a playoff to determine the fourth-place seed for the Northern 2A division tournament. The Warriors and Muckers will play at 5 p.m. at Mineral County High School in Hawthorne.

The winner plays regular season champ Pershing County in the Northern 2A tournament's first round Friday in Lovelock.


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