Hot shooting Galena defeats Senators in finals
Sin City will just have to wait.
Carson High’s dreams of going to Las Vegas for the NIAA State Tournament for the first time since 2003 were shattered by the hot-shooting Galena Grizzlies, who shot 75 percent in the first half en route to a 61-46 win before more than 2,000 fans Saturday in the regional finals at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
The loss ended Carson’s season at 18-8, while Galena improved to 24-6. Galena will find out its first-round opponent on Monday. Valley is facing Palo Verde in what amounts to a play-in game. Both finished second in their respective post-season tourney.
“I’m very proud of this team,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. “We didn’t lose to a bad basketball team. Galena was the preseason No. 1. All the coaches predicted they would win the Sierra League.
“When a team comes into your gym and shoots 75 percent (for a half), you know it’s going to be a long night. A couple of them (baskets) were when we trapped. Once you beat a trap if you don’t rotate quick enough ... Galena swung the ball around very well. They did a good job. I expected them to pound us inside, and when they start hitting those outside shots there isn’t a lot you can do.”
Galena went 4-for-4 on 3-pointers (4-for-5 overall) in the first quarter. Two came from Noah Peck, while Jared Ford and Dillon Voyles had one each.
“It’s hard to stay with a team when they’re on fire like Galena was,” Carson’s Cameron Price said. “They weren’t simple shots, and I thought we did a good job of contesting.”
Galena led 12-6 at the end of the first quarter, and it probably should have been more. The Grizzlies didn’t take care of the ball, turning it over five times.
It didn’t get any better for Carson in the second quarter, as the Grizzlies were 8-for-11 shooting en route to building a commanding 32-19 lead after 16 minutes of action. Carson shot 38 percent in the opening half.
A 10-4 run, keyed by 3-pointers, what else, by Peck and Zach Williams, gave the Grizzlies a 22-10 lead. Asa Carter, who was held to eight well-spaced points, ended the surge. A 10-5 surge boosted Galena’s lead to 32-17 before Tez Allen scored on a lay-up to make it 32-19 at the half.
Even Galena coach Brian Voyles seemed stunned by his team’s offense performances. He couldn’t remember any of his Hug or Galena teams shooting like that.
“Our spacing was really good,” Voyles said. “They were running man and match-up zone, and we did a good job of moving the ball around and finding the open man. Noah had some games like that earlier in the year, and what a great time to do it again.”
The Grizzlies kept Carson at bay for the first five minutes of the third period, hitting 5-for-7 from the floor, and actually increased the lead to 17, 45-28, on a putback by Zack Lessinger, who scored 14 of his game-high 20 in the final two periods.
Carson woke up at both ends of the floor, going on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 45-36 after three.
Price, who finished with a team-high 15, had six of those and Carter had the other two.
Carson turned up the pressure defensively, forcing Galena into four consecutive scoreless possessions. Carter had a chance to make it a six-point game, but his shot went in and out at the end of the quarter.
Galena’s offensive woes continued in the fourth quarter, as they had two misses and a turnover on their first three possessions. Carson was unable to take advantage, as Carter couldn’t connect over Lessinger in the lane, and Jayden DeJoseph missed a lay-up.
Lessinger scored five points in a 90-second span to stretch the lead to 49-38 with 5:25 left.
DeJoseph cut it to 49-40. But four points by Voyles and two by Lessinger stretched the lead to 55-40 with 2:27 left.
“When you get behind like we did (early), you expend so much energy trying to come back,” Mendeguia said.
And, a la the Brooklyn Dodgers, Carson will have to wait until next year.