It looked like the Galena High boys basketball team was in trouble at halftime of its consolation championship game at the Energy Classic in Gillette, Wyo., on Friday morning. The Grizzlies, who have a goal of limiting opposing teams to 45 points per game, already trailed Wyoming power Cheyenne East 48-38 and still had the second half left to play.
No problem. Galena came out in a defensive mode after the intermission and only allowed 26 points the rest of the way on its way to an 83-74 victory against the Thunderbirds.
Luke Babbitt scored 27 points and Eric Maupin 20 to lead Galena (8-5), which was coming off a thrilling 57-56 win over tournament host Gillette the night before. East and Gillette were both undefeated coming into the tournament, so Galena coach Tom Maurer was obviously pleased with the last two wins.
"I'm ecstatic. This was a very impressive win for the Grizzlies," Galena coach Tom Maurer said. "Cheyenne East is ranked No. 1 in Wyoming and they're very deserving of that. They've got three studs, three D-1 prospects. They're a very, very talented team."
The Thunderbirds (6-3) started fast behind J.B. Hairston's 10 first-quarter points. The talented senior - "That kid's being recruited by Colorado," Maurer said - scored nine the rest of the way, largely against the defense of J.D. Peters, Galena's 6-foot-2 junior guard.
James Johnson, who is being recruited heavily by the University of Nevada, went scoreless in the second half with Brice Crook defending him. Crook also contributed 12 points for the Grizzlies.
Meanwhile, Babbitt's value to the Grizzlies went beyond his 27 points.
"Luke played a great all-around game," Maurer said of the 6-8 sophomore. "He made everybody else on the team look better."
Luke Leonard also contributed eight points and played a valuable role coming off the bench.
"Luke came in and got six of his eight in the first quarter, which was huge," Maurer said. "We had a tough game that ended at 11 last night and came back to play at 11 this morning, so Babbitt needed some help. When Luke went inside and scored over their 6-6 guy, I think they were shocked."
The Grizzlies are scheduled to fly home today, after practicing this morning and then traveling for a brief tour of Mt. Rushmore, then fly to Texas next week for a series of games. They play in San Antonio on Tuesday.
AMADOR VALLEY 70, DOUGLAS 45
Douglas lost to a strong Amador team to conclude the Rancho Cordova Tournament near Sacramento. The Tigers trailed 27-17 at halftime. "We played a good first half," Douglas coach Rob Streeter said.
Even though Amador was able to pull away in the second half, Streeter said his team played better in the second half against Amador than it did the night before against Rancho Cordova in a 73-46 loss.
"I was happier with our effort in the second half," said Streeter comparing the Amador game to the Rancho Cordova contest. "I was happier with the way we played. Amador was a good squad."
Keith Olson was named to the all-tournament team after scoring 13 points. Douglas now receives some much needed practice time as it won't play again until it returns to Sierra League action when it hosts North Valleys on Jan. 10.
CARSON JVS 57, MCQUEEN 39
Down 18-15 at halftime, the Carson junior varsity basketball team outscored McQueen 24-9 in the third quarter to take control at the State Farm Classic. Caleb Carter scored 17 points on his way to being named to the all-tournament team for Carson, which went 3-1 in the event.
Also for Carson, Will Holbert scored 10 points, Paul Cagle and Adam Haney each had seven points, Mitch Brantingham went 4-of-4 from the foul line on his way to scoring six points, David Eller had four points, Matt Tillit had three points, Markus Adams had two points and Drew Good added one point. Eller, Good, Adams and Tillit all helped lead the defensive effort.
DOUGLAS 50, CARSON FRESHMEN 46
Kyle Stone was named to the all-tournament team at the State Farm Classic after scoring 16 points in the loss for the Carson freshmen boys basketball team. John Nuthall scored 13 points, Nick Peternell had six points, Calvin Case had four points and Steve Fowzer and Jeff Butler each added two points for Carson.