Galena wins opener at Beach Ball Classic |

Galena wins opener at Beach Ball Classic

Appeal Staff Report

The Galena High boys basketball team may have had its most impressive half of the season for a comeback win in the nation’s most prestigious tournament.

Galena overcame a 34-25 halftime deficit for a comeback 70-66 win over Miami (Fla.) Senior on Wednesday in the Beach Ball Classic at Myrtle Beach, Fla. The Grizzlies advanced to today’s quarterfinals where they will play St. Johns of Washington, D.C.

The Grizzlies overcame the effort of Edwin Rios, who has signed with Miami. Rios hit seven three-pointers on his way to scoring 37 points.

But Galena countered with Luke Babbitt and Tristan Hill. Galena coach Tom Mauer said Babbitt scored a “quiet” 26 points while Hill hit five threes on his way to scoring 19. “It was good to see Tristan Hill have 19,” Mauer said.

Mauer said his team’s defense and rebound was outstanding in the second half. “That’s what won us the game,” Mauer said. “I’m just happy to be on the winning side of this tournament.”

Miami crashed the offensive boards to build its halftime lead and finished with 16 offensive rebounds.

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“You’re not going to win a lot of games,” said Mauer, commenting on his team’s effort on the boards in the first half. “They were killing us on the boards.”

Mauer said another key was placing Babbitt on Rios. The two were teammates at last spring’s Albert Schweitzer Games in Germany.

“We made a really good adjustment,” Mauer said. “Babbitt was towering over him.

“I don’t think he hit a three on Luke. Just a phenomenal defensive job. I just thought it was a great defensive effort for Luke.”

Eric Maupin also played a key role, hitting free throws and pulling down rebounds down the stretch.

Mauer said he was also proud of the way his team responded after arriving early Wednesday morning eastern time.

St. Johns features one of the nation’s top players in Chris Wright, who has signed with Georgetown.