Galena edges Douglas for title | NevadaAppeal.com

Galena edges Douglas for title

MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer

SPARKS – For the better part of 27 minutes in Saturday’s Northern 4A boys regional basketball championship game, the Douglas Tigers put the Galena Grizzlies in their pajamas, but they just couldn’t put them to bed.

Galena fell behind early, rallied and fell behind again before digging deep to take a 56-55 victory over Douglas at Spanish Springs High School.

With the win, Galena improved to 21-9 on the season and advanced to next week’s Class 4A state championships in Las Vegas.

Douglas, having won its first two playoff games since 1992, ended its season at 23-9 after giving the Grizzlies all they could handle.

“The bottom line is I hate to win this game and I also love to win this game,” said Grizzlies coach Tom Mauer, who has now won seven regional crowns in his 15 seasons at Galena. “(Douglas coach) Rob Streeter is a phenomenal friend. It’s a disappointing way to end.

“Those kids at Douglas played their asses off. I don’t see why they don’t send two (Northern teams to Las Vegas). Those kids deserve to go with us.”

Trailing 49-40 with 6 minutes left in the game, the Grizzlies’ body language looked negative as they headed to the sidelines for a timeout with their heads hanging.

But between then and when Galena forward Luke Babbitt drained a 3-pointer over Jeff Nady to tie the game at 53 with 2:38 to go, something got into the Grizzlies, who began to fly out of bounds after loose balls, pick each other off the floor, play tight defense and hit clutch shots.

“We just knew we had to pick it up,” said senior forward Eric Maupin, who scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter. “We were playing a good game. They were playing a great game. We had to play even harder.”

David Laird gave the Tigers the lead back on a pair of free throws, but Galena tied it at 55 with 1:49 to go on Maupin’s putback.

Mike Gransbery, who had 16 points for Douglas, missed a three with 1:13 to go and Maupin converted one of his two free throws to give Galena the lead, 56-55.

With 4 seconds remaining, Kevin Emm, who scored 13 points for Douglas, missed a 12-footer and Babbitt, who had a game-high 27 points, pulled down the rebound and drew a foul with 2.3 seconds left. He missed the free throw and Keith Olson’s full-court heave was short as time expired.

“We started to play our half-court game and beat them one-on-one,” Maupin said. “Toward the end we trapped and tried to keep it out of the hands of the big guys. That paid off.”

The 6-foot-10 Olson finished with 20 points, with 18 of them coming in the first half. Gransbery and Emm connected on a combined five 3-pointers in helping guide the Tigers to 35-26 halftime lead over the Grizzlies.

An Olson layup capped a 10-2 run to open the first quarter and his putback extended the Tigers’ lead to 14-7 with 1:48 to go in the period. Olson sandwiched a putback and a layup around a 3-pointer by Babbitt for a 16-10 advantage.

“The kids were focused and believed they could win this game,” Streeter said. “We hit some big shots early. They were confident and felt good. We attacked well and shared the ball.”

After Douglas opened up 20-12 lead on an Olson jumper over Babbitt, Galena went on a 9-0 run, beginning with a Tristan Hill three. Babbitt added a dunk, Brice Crook added a layup and Babbitt converted a pair of free throws to give the Grizzlies their first lead, 21-20, with 4:52 to go in the half.

Crook was Galena’s second-leading scorer, with 10.

A Gransbery three and a pair of putbacks by Olson put the Tigers up, 27-21. Crook and Gransbery traded threes and a 12-foot jumper by Babbitt made it 30-26, with 1:08 to go before intermission.

Douglas had all of the momentum headed into the locker room following a three-point play from Olson and another trey from Gransbery, which gave Douglas a 35-26 lead.

Galena closed the gap to 40-36 on a Crook steal and layup with 3:38 left in the third, but Douglas held a 45-38 lead going into the deciding fourth quarter.

One of the keys for Galena was the relative late absence of Olson, who scored only two points in the second half.

“He got a little tired,” Streeter said. “He had some big minutes all weekend. He’s a big guy. I take the blame for that, for not giving him more rest when we got the lead. It’s his senior year. It’s the zone championship. You don’t take your horses out.”

One of Galena’s horses – Babbitt – cited experience as the main reason for Galena’s win.

“That’s just credit to our six seniors on the team,” he said. “They refuse to lose. Coach Mauer has pushed us every day and it paid off. We’re going to have to correct some things in practice. It wasn’t pretty. I hope we get the win next week.”

“Tonight the stars and the moon were right,” Mauer said of the win. “I felt like we were going home. We stayed positive. At the end, all of them were looking at me (in the huddles) and buying in. This team has grown. We’ve gone from a team of individuals and egos to the last two weeks believing in Galena High School basketball.”

In its preseason poll, Sports Illustrated picked Galena as Nevada’s No. 1 team in Nevada. Now the Grizzlies will head south next week and hope the stars and moon are right again as they attempt to win their first state championship.

NORTHERN 4A GIRLS REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

REED 70, BISHOP MANOGUE 57

The Raiders had taken the Miners to the woodshed twice during the regular season, but Bishop Manogue gave Reed a run for its money in Saturday’s Northern 4A girls regional basketball championship game at Spanish Springs High School.

The Raiders led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter, but the Miners closed the gap to three points with 43 seconds remaining in the third before Reed pulled away in the final quarter to take a 70-57 win for its first regional championship since 2004.

“Last year we were two, two and two (in the High Desert League, at zone and at state),” said Raiders coach Sara Schopper. “This year we want to be one, one and one.”

That leaves Reed, which improved to 23-3 overall, with only a single “one” to go after it finished first in league and is now the regional champion. With the win, the Raiders advanced to next week’s Class 4A state championships in Las Vegas.

Reed has won three state championships – in 1991, 1992 and 1993 – all in Class 3A play.

The Raiders had a balanced attack offensively, led by Oceanna Johnson (14 points), MaryAlice Palmer (13), Jordan Rogers (13), Mary Sprinkel (10) and Erica McKenzie (nine).

“I think they (the Miners) turned the ball over quite a bit, but we didn’t convert those like we usually do,” Schopper said of the difference in the game. “We weren’t taking our best shots. I thought sometimes we were firing it a little bit. I said to be patient with the ball, they have to chase us.”

And aside from an early 6-3 lead, it was the Miners chasing the Raiders, who went on a 13-0 run to take a 19-6 lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter.

Ashley Armstrong scored a team-high 18 points, Kara Stock added 15 and Taylor Sylvester chipped in 11 to lead the Miners, who finished their season 15-12, but left knowing they were the first Miners team to win (two games) in the 4A regionals and advance to the championship game.

“I think we’re a different team than the one who played Reed the last two times,” said second-year Miners coach Bill Billinger. “I think they (the Raiders) know that too. I’m a boxing fan and like I told the kids, we went 15 rounds with a really good boxer.

“We didn’t get knocked out. We got hit more times in the 15th round. We didn’t execute. We wanted to get the ball in our bigs’ hands. We didn’t get the ball in the hoop at the end of the game.”

Armstrong converted a three-point play and Sylvester had a putback to close the gap to 19-13 at the end of the first quarter. But after Stock hit a pair of free throws to draw Manogue within 26-19, with 5:37 left in the half, Reed went on an 8-0 run to keep the Miners at arm’s length.

Manogue trailed, 43-34, at the intermission and after staying within 10 points for the first half of the third quarter, capped a 12-5 run on Armstrong’s three-point play to make it 55-52, with 43 seconds left in the third.

That was as close as the Miners would get the rest of the way.