Douglas boys knock off Galena
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – It is said that the best way to deal with a grizzly bear is to play dead. The Douglas Tigers entered The Cave at Galena High School with a different approach.
With the memory of last year’s 56-55 loss to Galena in the championship game of the Northern 4A playoffs still in their minds, the Tigers took it to the Grizzlies early and blunted a late attack with one of their own to take a 66-54 victory Friday.
Junior guard James McGlaughlin led three Tigers in double figures, scoring 24 points – including 12 in the crucial second quarter – in an interleague battle. Seniors Jeff Nady and David Laird each scored 12 to improve Douglas to 8-3 overall.
“Coming into the game I wanted to get the three going,” said McGlaughlin, who drained a game-high four 3-pointers. “Lately it hasn’t been falling. The first one didn’t go, but I just kept going. I had to keep shooting; I wasn’t going to keep my head down.”
McGlaughlin said the key to the victory was his team’s mindset.
“We lost in the championship game last year and we wanted to compete with them and see if we could beat them,” said McGlaughlin, who couldn’t wipe a mile-wide grin off his face. “We came in with the mentality we can beat them. It happened.”
And it began to happen for the Tigers right from the start, when McGlaughlin took in a layup off the opening tip. There were two ties and the lead changed hands three times in the first quarter, with Galena holding on to a 10-9 edge at the end of the period.
After McGlaughlin sank a trey, Galena’s 6-foot-8 power forward Luke Babbitt tied the game 12-12 with a layup with 5 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the half.
Nady followed with a layup to begin a 9-2 spurt for the Tigers and cause Galena coach Tom Maurer rip into his players during a timeout for not playing defense.
A pair of free throws by Babbitt, who led the Grizzlies with a game-high 32 points, closed the gap to 25-18, but a McGlaughlin three would give Douglas a 10-point lead at 30-20.
The Tigers led at the break, 30-22, and Maurer sat his starters for nearly four minutes to open the third quarter.
“They weren’t working hard enough,” Maurer said of his starters. “Those five didn’t even (complain). They knew it, which is cool. Basically, that was a crash course, summer-school class and three weeks of education.
“We learned a lot about the game of basketball. I’ve always been a big believer that you learn from a loss. We had five turnovers in the first five minutes.”
And the Grizzlies, who fell to 5-6 overall, had 10 turnovers in the first eight minutes, 13 in the game.
“The kids came ready to play,” said first-year Douglas coach Corey Thacker. “Both teams knew it was a game where we had to step it up. The kids worked hard to stay focused.
“In the first half, McGlaughlin knocked down a couple of threes to help out. In the second half, the kids stepped up and knocked down some free throws. Galena likes a close game. If you don’t make your free throws, that’s exactly their game.”
Overall, Douglas was 19-of-25 from the charity stripe, going 15-of-21 in the second half. Nady was 6-of-7 from the line in the fourth quarter.
Galena was accurate from the foul line as well, connecting on 13-of-15 (Babbitt was 10-of-11). Douglas was more accurate from the floor, going 20-of-44, while the Grizzlies went 19-of-58.
A Drew Hamlett layup put Douglas up 36-24 just before Maurer re-inserted his starters and Babbitt hit a 3-pointer and a 13-footer to draw the Grizz to within seven at 36-29.
McGlaughlin responded with a pair of threes to make it 42-29 and Douglas went into the fourth quarter holding a 51-40 lead.
Galena would go on a 10-5 run – capped by a Babbitt leaner – to trail 55-50, with 3:14 to go, but lost starting guards Markis Robinson and transfer Deon Ashley to fouls.
McGlaughlin also fouled out, but his team closed out the game with an 11-4 run, including 9-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Kevin Emm finished with nine points for Douglas, hitting three shots from beyond the arc.
“Douglas definitely deserved to win,” Mauer said. “Corey did a great job and his kids did a great job. He’s a different coach (from last year’s championship game) with a different style of ball. The game was settled on the court. It wasn’t about the coaches; it was about the kids.
“It was about rebounding, taking care of the ball and getting to the free-throw line. You can’t play macho basketball. You have to play fundamental basketball. It wasn’t my style of ball. We need to take care of the ball, pass the ball and play defense.”
Happy with his team’s effort heading into a four-game set in a tournament in Clovis, Calif., beginning on Wednesday, Thacker nevertheless kept the win in context.
“It’s a preseason game,” Thacker said. “Both teams will improve from here.”
Maurer’s Grizzlies will head to Florida, where they will play in a prestigious 16-team Tampa Tournament, to be held in The Dome on the University of South Florida campus.
Galena, seeded No. 16, will lead off with top-ranked American Heritage, beginning at 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
“At 9 a.m., we’re going right to film starting (today),” Maurer said. “We’ll practice today), we’ll practice Monday and go play one of the best teams in the nation (American Heritage). We’ll have two weeks of being together. We’ll be a different team when we go to Elko (Jan. 4).”