Galena defeats Weston Ranch |

Galena defeats Weston Ranch

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Bracket play got under way in the second annual George Maldonado Memorial Tournament at Galena High School on Thursday and so did the Grizzlies’ defense.

Using a revolving door defense – the 2-3, 3-2 and man – the Grizzlies held the Weston Ranch (Stockton, Calif.) Cougars to only eight second-quarter points (and a total of 20 in the first half) on the way to a 63-50 win.

The Grizzlies, now 3-4 on the season, also forced 15 turnovers and forced the Cougars to the perimeter where they missed the majority of their shots. Weston Ranch, now 1-2, was only 2-of-14 from the 3-point line in the first half.

“(We were) just inconsistent,” said third-year Weston Ranch coach Bill Slikker. “I was really disappointed that we fell in love with the three – especially in the first half. If you’re not making it, quit shooting it. Even with (Galena center Luke) Babbitt in there, you have to attack them. We didn’t do a good job of attacking them.”

Babbitt had 10 first half points, but had 11 in the fourth quarter – going 9-of-12 from the foul line – to lead all Galena scorers. J.D. Peters added 12 and Brice Crook 10 for the Grizzlies.

“I was really happy with our shot selection tonight,” said Galena coach Tom Mauer. “I was happy with our defense. They (the Cougars) are a driving team; they’re not a great shooting team, so we put them on the perimeter.

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“I liked Brice Crook and (Eric) Maupin on the boards. We saw some really nice things while we were watching film (on Galena-Artesia). Today we had a solid game from Babbitt and had two guys doing an outstanding job on the boards and helping out in the paint. One of our game plans was to keep (the Cougars) out of the paint.”

And to that end the Grizzlies were successful.

After trading the lead with the Cougars, Galena went up for good on a Babbitt steal and dunk with 2 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Galena led by six twice in the second quarter -18-12 on three-point play by Babbitt and 23-17 on a Peters steal, lay-up and foul shot, but a 3-pointer from Vinnie Devencenzi cut the lead to 23-20 at the half.

“The kids never quit – I give them that,” Slikker said. “They kept fighting. This is our third game of the year. We haven’t gelled yet. We don’t know where everybody is at yet. We’re a little selfish now. It’s not a team game now.”

Mauer also thought his team wasn’t 100 percent, but for a difference reason.

“I thought we were kind of tired,” he said. “You could tell by their body language. Our kids are going to school (during the tournament). It’s tough on the kids.”

Galena stretched its lead to 12 – 37-25 – on another dunk by Babbitt, who drew a technical foul for hanging on the rim.

Silva hit another trey and Nunnally – who had a game-high 27 points – had a lay-up to make it 37-31 going into the fourth quarter.

A Devencenzi basket cut Galena’s lead to six at 40-34 and Nunnally hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to five at 46-41, but the Grizzlies went on a 7-0 run to put the game out of reach with 3:10 to go.

“We anticipated the fact that they couldn’t body up with us on man-to-man defense,” Mauer said. “Maupin and Babbitt did a great job on the boards. That took away a lot of second and third shots from them today. I kind of challenged Babbitt at halftime. I said what a good job Maupin was doing on the boards. Babbitt got it going in the second half.”

Galena will now play Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.), which is ranked No. 15 nationally by Sports Illustrated. The Apaches had to rally to defeat Lehi (Utah), 65-59 .

“It sounds like a good matchup to me,” Mauer said of the 8 p.m. game. “I think it will be a phenomenal game. Lehi’s a good team. They showed us something we can do. Arlington Country Day has outstanding athletes. It will be interesting to see if we can slow them down. Last time we saw that (speed) was with Westchester and Dominguez (both losses).”

In other action, Artesia (Lakewood, Calif.), ranked No. 1 nationally by and No. 2 by USA Today and Sports Illustrated, defeated Douglas, 71-50 and Mountain View (Mesa, Ariz.) beat Orem (Utah), 61-33.

Douglas will play Orem in today’s first game at 3:30 p.m., followed by Lehi-Weston Ranch at 5, Artesia-Mountain View at 6:30 and Galena-Arlington Country Day at 8.

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