RENO - The play didn't go quite as Bishop Gorman coach Grant Rice planned, but he'll gladly take the result.
Sam Goulet hit a 3-point field goal with 1.8 seconds left, wiping out a one-point Galena lead, and lifting Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas to a thrilling 60-58 victory Friday night at the George Maldonado Memorial Classic at Galena High School.
Galena returns to action today at 4:40 against Madison-Ridgeland of Mississippi.
The score by Goulet wiped out a brilliant Galena comeback led by Luke Babbitt, who after being held scoreless for three quarters, scored 16 in the final eight minutes and almost single-handedly rescued the Grizzlies.
"The point guard was supposed to penetrate and then get the ball to one of the two shooters on the outside (Jon Tavernari or Goulet)," Rice said. "(Martrell) Fantroy got hung up. It didn't go as designed, but we'll take it."
Trailing 57-53 with 36.1 seconds left, Babbitt threw up a 3-pointer and was fouled by Tavernari. Babbitt hit all three shots, pulling the Grizzlies to 57-56 with 22.3 left. Bishop Gorman had a chance to extend the lead, but DeMarco Murray missed the front end of a one-and-one situation.
Babbitt was dribbling full steam up the left side of the court and was fouled by Tavernari with 14 seconds left. Babbitt calmly knocked down both shots, giving Galena its first lead, 58-57, since midway through the second quarter.
Fantroy tried to penetrate the middle, but Galena got him hung up around the free-throw line. Fantroy managed to get the ball out to Goulet, who knocked down his second 3-pointer of the game with 1.8 left.
Despite the loss, Galena coach Tom Maurer was happy with his team, and he'd obviously like another chance at Gorman when the teams go to Wyoming in two weeks.
"I'm very proud of the way the kids came back," Maurer said. "I try to take a negative and turn it into a positive. This was a learning experience for us. This team has a long way to go, and my goal is to get it mentally and physically tough by February."
There were two huge keys to the game.
The first was Bishop Gorman's defensive work on Babbitt, who only got up four shots in the first 24 minutes.
Babbitt, who scored 37 against Modesto Christian on Thursday, had Gorman players all over him throughout the game. Neither the Galena coaching staff or Babbitt or the Galena players were able to adjust.
"Obviously we saw Luke play last night," Rice said. "We saw him all summer, too. We just wanted to keep the ball out of his hands. It worked for three quarters and then he exploded for 16 in the fourth quarter, and he hit some tough shots."
"He (Babbitt) is so young," Maurer said. "I told him he'd have three guys on him every time he touched the ball. Yesterday he had only one guy to beat. They were going to let everybody else but Babbitt beat them tonight. I would have done the same thing."
The second was the entire third quarter when Galena didn't score in the final 6 minutes 5 seconds, allowing Bishop Gorman to score 10 unanswered points and take a 42-32 lead after three. In that final six minutes, Galena went seven possessions without getting up a shot.
Brice Crook tied the game at 32 with 6:05 left in the third period, but Gorman stormed back with eight straight points.
Tavernari, who missed several minutes in the first half after a wayward elbow from a Galena player caused some bleeding above his right eye, drained the first of his six 3-point field goals with 5:37 left. Murray scored on a putback at 5:08 and Tavanera drained a putback with 4:47 remaining to make it 39-32. Martin Lawrence completed the run with a free throw.
"That's four juniors and a sophomore out there," Maurer said. "I thought we dribbled way too much. You don't dribble against quickness."
Babbitt started Galena's comeback with a muscle shot inside with 7:46 left. He was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw. Tavernari hit another howitzer to make it an 11-point game. Tristan Hill, in his first game back from a school suspension, dropped in a 3-pointer, only to see Tavernari hit another trey to make it 48-37. Hill and Babbitt both knocked down 3-pointers, trimming the lead to 48-43.
Babbitt continued his barrage, but Gorman got a layup and a critical three-point play from Fantroy to make it 55-51 with 57.8 left. Gorman maintained the four-point lead for 21 more seconds before Babbitt knocked down the previously mentioned three foul shots with 22.3 left and added two more eight seconds later, setting the stage for the final play.