The Galena Grizzlies boys basketball team looked in a mirror Friday night.
"They do run a lot of the same stuff as us," Galena coach Tom Maurer said after a methodical 53-30 victory over the Fallon Greenwave at Galena High. "They stick to their game plan, run their offense and play hard."
The Grizzlies did the same thing only better in winning for the 29th consecutive time in the High Desert League. Galena, which last lost a league regular season game on Feb. 11, 2005 (48-45 to Reed), is now 10-10 overall and 4-0 in the High Desert League. Fallon fell to 5-12 and 2-3.
"We tried to just go out there and run our offense and not worry about the score," said Luke Babbitt, whose 23 points led all scorers.
Babbitt agreed that going up against the Greenwave, a team that likes to slow the tempo on offense, was like going against his Galena teammates in practice.
"I don't know if they stole from us or we stole from them but they are very similar to us," said Babbitt, who had 11 points in the first half and a dozen in the second half.
The game was tied just three times - the last time at 6-6 - and Fallon led just once, 6-4 with 3:39 to go in the opening quarter. Galena went on a 17-3 run over the final three minutes of the first quarter and the first four minutes of the second quarter. Babbitt (10 points) and guard Markis Robinson (six) combined for 16 of the 17 points in the seven-minute run.
"The biggest thing I was happy about was our defense in that first quarter," Maurer said. "To hold them to six points (Galena led 11-6 after one quarter), I was ecstatic. Fallon liked to hold the ball until you make a mistake on defense but we played very well."
The Grizzlies' offense converted just five of 13 shots in the first quarter.
"I was disappointed with our offense in the first quarter," Maurer said. "But after that we were patient and got a lot of good looks. In the second half we scored practically every time down the floor."
Robinson scored seven points in the second quarter (he finished with nine) as Galena built a 26-17 halftime lead. Fallon's Dexter Daum drained a 3-pointer and Garrett Adams got free for a layup as the Greenwave pulled within 21-14 with two minutes to play in the half.
The Grizzlies, though, got 3-pointers by Robinson and Babbitt and a layup from Scott Bristol off a feed from Babbitt to take a comfortable nine-point lead at the half.
"Fallon runs their offense real well," Babbitt said. "But we just wanted to do what we do and do it well."
Galena dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Greenwave 15-4 to take a 41-21 lead into the final eight minutes. The Grizzlies shredded the Fallon defense with their passing as Babbitt found Bristol, Robinson fed Babbitt and Jake Mansfield found Victor Walker all for easy layups in the quarter.
Bristol scored five points in the quarter on his way to a nine-point night.
"Our goal was to hold them to under 30 and we almost did that," Maurer said. "A lot of the reason why we played good defense is because we played well on offense. We got into good sets and took good shots and made a lot of those shots."
Galena converted 18 of their final 29 shots (62 percent) after the first quarter to finish at 52 percent (23-of-44) for the game. Fallon struggled the entire game on offense, making just 24 percent (11-of-44) of its shots. Daum led the Greenwave with 12 points, converting five of 12 shots. The rest of the Greenwave shot a mere 18 percent (6-of-34).
"After being on the road so much (the Grizzlies were in Las Vegas last weekend) and having finals this week, we were able to get three great days of practice in this week," Maurer said. "It paid off."
Galena will return to the road starting today at Bishop Manogue for a 5 p.m. High Desert League game. The Grizzlies will then fly to northern California on Sunday to take on Amador Valley High on Monday before returning to play a crucial league game at Reed on Tuesday night.
"I was very happy that we didn't overlook (Fallon) and think about playing Manogue," said Maurer. "We have a tough stretch coming up but we have to get the job done."