Galena earns another shot at Carson
RENO – Janelle Mack says she was trying to do her job and contribute to the Galena High School girls basketball team.
The 5-foot-10 senior forward played more like a leader Wednesday morning, when she scored 15 points and gave a solid all-around performance that helped the Grizzlies dispose of Silverado 51-35 in the opening round of the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Tournament at Lawlor Events Center.
Galena (27-6) returned as a refocused team after absorbing back-to-back defeats to finish fourth at the zone tournament last weekend, according to coach Karen Friel.
“We were a little more focused and ready to play today,” Friel said. “We worked on some little things this week, and that seemed to help out.”
Rebounding was one area of focus, and the Grizzlies responded as they out-rebounded Silverado 30-25. Fourteen of Galena’s rebounds came on the offensive end – seven by Mack, who scored on four putbacks in the first half.
“She (Friel) told us we had to board today,” Mack said as she flashed a smile. “I knew that was a key, because if we rebound and outlet the ball, then we’re able to push the ball up the floor.
“I knew I had to do my best job … I just wanted to help the team,” she continued. “I love to help my team.”
Mack contributed nine rebounds overall, not to mention four steals and three assists. Eleven of her 15 points came in the first half, as Galena built a 28-22 lead.
“She did a good job,” Friel said of Mack, who scored Galena’s first six points. “She had a couple of offensive rebounds and putbacks that got us on track.”
The Grizzlies took control of the game by scoring 13 unanswered points over a span of four minutes early in the third period. Whitney Williams hit a baseline jumper off an assist from Kellie Burton to ignite the run. Then Mack stole the ball and passed down court to Annie Baxter for a layup.
Williams buried a 15-footer off another assist from Burton, then fed Jayleen Chen for a layup and assisted Burton on a basket. And Burton’s drive for two more points extended Galena’s lead to 41-24 with 2:19 remaining in the third period.
Silverado (29-7), the South’s Sunrise Region champion, never got back to within single digits the rest of the way.
Burton finished with 14 points, while Williams added eight for the Grizzlies.
Nikki Hitchens scored 10 points to lead Silverado’s Skyhawks, who lost their state opener for the third straight year. Jayme Connors, the Sunrise Region Player of the Year, had seven points and eight rebounds.
Now the Grizzlies are looking forward to their rematch against Carson in the semifinals today at 5 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center.
“Yes we are,” Mack said, referring to Galena’s 45-43 overtime loss to the Senators in the Northern 4A zone tournament semifinals last weekend. “We know we can win, if we play the best we can and work as a team.”
The teams have already played three games against one another this season, with Carson winning two of them.