Galena basketball falls
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Galena senior Luke Babbitt continued to put the power in power forward Wednesday against the Mountain View (Mesa, Ariz.) Toros, but even his 38-point outburst wasn’t enough to translate into a win for the Grizzlies.
Only three other Grizzlies scored for Galena, but the well-balanced Toros had seven players get on the scoreboard – including three in double figures – as Mountain View took a 65-55 victory in a non-bracket matchup in the George Maldonado Memorial Classic at Galena High School.
Brendon Lavender, a 6-foot-5 guard who last month signed with Arizona, scored 27 points for the Toros, who also got 13 points from Jordan McLelland and 10 from Eric Hunt to take the win.
Mountain View, which competes in the East Valley Region and has won the last three Class 5A Arizona state championships, held a 28-22 halftime lead before going on 22-13 tear in the third quarter.
Although his own team was impressive, the first words out of the mouth of Mountain View coach Gary Ernst had to do with Galena’s 6-foot-8 power forward, a University of Nevada signee.
“Luke Babbitt is about impossible to guard,” Ernst said. “I thought early on we did a better job on him. We didn’t have any fouls and double-teamed him early. We were good on defense (in the first half), but we didn’t score. In the second half we had a nice spurt. Then (in the fourth) we started trading baskets, which we didn’t want to do.”
Markis “Goose” Robinson – who finished with 12 points – found an open Scott Bristol (four points) for a long jumper to give Galena its biggest and last lead – 12-9 – with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but Mountain View went on a 12-5 run over the next 6:33 to take a 21-14 lead.
The smooth, athletic Lavender began the outburst with a pair of 3-pointers and took home a thunderous dunk before McLelland capped off the run with a pair of free throws.
The Grizzlies were able to get within 21-20 on a Babbitt drive and free throw, a Bristol free throw and a Babbitt putback with 2:13 to go in the half.
Lavender answered, however, and hit a pair of free throws before stripping Babbitt and nailing a three to make it 26-20.
After taking the 28-22 lead in the locker room, Mountain View opened the second half with a 13-4 run. Although Galena would draw close (it rallied from 41-24 deficit to within 56-50 with 3:13 to go in the game) behind the efforts of Babbitt in the fourth, that opening run put the Grizzlies in a nearly insurmountable position.
“We played one quarter of defense – that was the last quarter,” Galena coach Tom Mauer said of the Grizzlies, who outscored the Toros 20-15 in the final eight minutes. “We opened the passing lanes, we had energy and we were covering up for each other. For (the previous) five games we’ve been outstanding in the third quarter.”
Mauer said the difference lay in the lack of production from Galena’s role players, its overall defense and Mountain View’s depth.
“Against good teams like Mountain View, they’ve got five, six, seven guys who are good,” Mauer said. “Galena needs seven good players in there, not just one. In the second half we did a great job of running our sets. We got looks and spread it out.
“They double-and tripled-teamed Luke – they zoned with four guys. We expect that. Still, our role players didn’t do a good job. It’s very frustrating when you’re playing a good team. One, we weren’t emotionally charged to play them; two, we didn’t play a lick of defense. I’ve always made my bed with defense.”
Mountain View improved to 7-1 on the season and will meet the Eldorado (Las Vegas) Sundevils in the beginning of bracket play today at 4:30 p.m. The Grizzlies, who are now 2-4 on the season, meet 3A Sparks at 7:30 p.m.
“I’m not worried about the offense,” said Mauer, whose Grizzlies will follow this tournament with games against Reed and Douglas before leaving on Christmas Day to play in the inaugural Tampa Bay Basketball Invitational at the University of South Florida, where they will meet nationally ranked American Heritage in the first game. “I’m seriously worried about the defense. Our schedule is unbelievable. We’ve got to start knocking off good teams.”
DOUGLAS 74, LOWRY 50
In another non-bracket matchup – this between the 4A Tigers and the 3A Buckaroos from Lowry – Douglas took advantage of their superior 3-point shooting and a second-half surge to take the win.
Douglas outshot the Buckaroos 7-2 from behind the arc and outscored Lowry 38-23 in the second half, setting themselves up for today’s match with the Sky View Bobcats, of Smithfield, Utah, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Three Tigers scored in double figures, including 6-foot-7 Jeff Nady (14 points), 6-foot-3 Kevin Emm (14) and 6-foot-3 James McLaughlin (13).
Douglas also got six points from Ryan McPeek and five apiece from Parker Robertson and Tyler Hoelzen. Emm had four 3-pointers, while McLaughlin added two.
Jacob Ragsdale, a 6-foot-5 senior center, was the only Buckaroo in double figures, leading Lowry with 17 points.
Douglas led 36-27 going into the third quarter, when it outscored the Buckaroos 20-11 to effectively put the game out of reach.
Lowry will meet the Mira Loma (Sacramento) Matadors in the first match of the eight-team tournament, beginning at 3 p.m. Mountain View will then take on Eldorado, followed by Douglas-Sky View and Galena-Sparks.