Galena falls in overtime; Douglas wins
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – After scoring only 10 first-half points against three-time Class 5A Arizona state champion Mountain View, the Galena Grizzlies – behind 6-foot-8 power forward Luke Babbitt – mounted a furious second-half rally to show why they are Nevada’s defending 4A state champions.
But in the end even Babbitt’s 41 points weren’t enough as the Toros took a 64-59 overtime victory over the Grizzlies in the championship game of the George Maldonado Memorial Classic Saturday at Galena High School.
Arizona signee Brendon Lavender – a 6-foot-5 senior guard – scored 33 points to lead the way for Mountain View, which also got 21 from Nathan Murphy. Lavender hit all six of his shots and scored 14 of the Toros’ 16 first-quarter points, while Babbitt was held to a pair of free throws in a seven-point first period for the Grizzlies, who fell to 4-5 on the season.
“These games are good for you down the stretch – if you can win, it helps you a lot more,” said Mountain View coach Gary Ernst, whose team improved to 10-1. “Our early start gave us a little bit of a cushion that helped us. The way that Brendon helped us was huge.
“We weren’t shooting the ball as well. I think that’s the fourth game (of the tournament), being away from home and good defensive play from (the Grizzlies). They played better than they did earlier in the week.”
Galena dropped a 65-55 decision to the Toros in a non-bracket matchup on Wednesday.
“I was really happy the way we weathered that storm,” Galena coach Tom Mauer said of the first half. “After scoring 10 points in the first 16 minutes, we held them to eight in the fourth quarter. That’s what I’ve been talking about all this time – great defense.”
It was a combination of great defense, some missed shots by Mountain View and an offensive explosion by Babbitt (who will play for the University of Nevada next season) that got the Grizzlies back on track. Babbitt had only five first-half points, but scored 19 in the third period, eight in the fourth and nine in overtime.
“I’m proud of the fact that we showed what we can do,” Mauer said. “I was proud of the way we shared the ball and helped each other out. At the end we had our chances. We were up four points, but we couldn’t hold. We have to go back to work.”
After being held to two second-quarter points, Lavender scored 11 in the third, including a 3-pointer and a layup to give the Toros a 29-17 lead with 6 minutes, 13 second remaining in the quarter.
With the exception of a pair of threes by Murphy and two hoops by Lavender for the Toros and two Scott Bristol buckets for the Grizz, it was Babbitt who did most of the scoring, putting up 14 points in the last 5:57 of the period to draw Galena to within 39-35.
Lavender was held scoreless in the fourth quarter and after Mountain View increased its lead to eight, Babbitt scored eight consecutive points, and layups by transfer Deon Ashley and Markis “Goose” Robinson gave Galena a 47-43 lead with 47 seconds remaining.
Robinson finished with six points.
With 38 seconds left, senior guard Garrett Womack fouled Murphy as he fell backward, draining a 3-pointer. Murphy hit the foul shot to tie it at 47-47.
Galena’s Jake Mansfield missed the front end of a one-and-one with 17 seconds to go and Lavender and Tyson Ellsworth both failed to get the ball in the basket and the game went to OT.
Lavender scored a layup off the overtime tip-off and subsequently hit a pair of free throws to give Mountain View a 51-47 lead.
Babbitt scored seven points over the next 65 seconds to hand Galena its last lead at 54-53.
After Murphy followed with a trey, Babbitt answered to make it 56-56.
Ellsworth scored a basket and missed the foul shot, but Babbitt’s 15-footer bounced off the rim with 35 seconds to go and Galena trailed 58-56.
Although Babbitt got the Grizzlies within three at 62-59 with 13 seconds remaining, the Toros were able to hold on for the win. Lavender had six in OT, Babbitt nine.
“It’s not February, it’s December,” Mauer said. “We have nine kids with no game experience. This was a great experience.”
Galena will open its High Desert League season Thursday, when it hosts Reed at 7 p.m.
“It’s a showdown,” Mauer said with a wide grin. “It’s going to leave us Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get something out of it.”
DOUGLAS 58, MIRA LOMA 48
The Tigers had three players in double figures and outscored the Matadors 16-8 in the second quarter to win the third-place game.
Douglas, now 5-3, was led by 6-foot-7 Jeff Nady, who had a game-high 18 points, Kevin Emm (11) and David Laird (10). In all, 10 Tigers scored in a well-balanced attack as Douglas readied itself for its Sierra League opener against Wooster Tuesday in Minden at 7 p.m.
“(The Matadors) made a little run, got us off the dribble a couple of times and knocked down a couple of threes (in the fourth quarter), but we responded and finally put it away,” first-year Douglas coach Corey Thacker said.
The Tigers held a 32-22 lead at the half, outscored the Matadors 14-9 in the third period and led by as many as 15 points (46-31) before scrappy Mira Loma rallied in the fourth quarter.
Anthony Windley scored a team-high 15 and Ryan Loomis added 14 for the Matadors, who closed the lead to five points two times (51-46 and 53-48), but the Tigers never broke.
“We’re still building on some things,” Thacker said. “We have to work on some experience, some game situations so they know what to do in certain situations. We have six returners and have to fill a lot of spots. We have to find a way to trust each other. That comes with working together.”