Grizzlies lose to two top teams
December 8, 2006
The Galena High boys basketball team continued its meat grinder of a schedule by playing two California powers at the Westchester Tournament in Los Angeles.
In a game that didn’t begin until 10:10 p.m., the Grizzlies fell to Westchester, ranked No. 13 in the nation, 73-54 on Thursday and then they lost to Compton Dominguez 70-56 on Friday. Galena was able to stay close with both teams for a half before both teams pulled away in the second half.
Against Westchester, Galena was playing a team that has never lost in the 17 years of its tournament. But the Grizzlies trailed just 27-25 only because Westchester was able to hit three-pointers at the end of the first and second quarters.
“I’m excited because our kids are in the 20s,” Galena coach Tom Mauer said. “That’s Mauer ball.
“I thought for a half it was outstanding Galena basketball. It was our pace, our tempo. We took care of the basketball. I was so proud of the kids.”
But in the second half, it appeared Galena’s long day took its toll. The Grizzlies left on a plane at 3:50 p.m. for the 10:10 game. “We’re tired,” Mauer said. “We’re exhausted.”
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Against Dominguez, Galena was playing a team that was coming off an upset 63-60 loss against Sun Valley Poly in a game in which Dominguez blew a 21-4 lead. Galena trailed just 33-29 at halftime before Dominguez was able to pull away in the second half.
“It was the most physical game I’ve ever seen with the most phenomenal athletes,” Mauer said.
Luke Babbitt scored 27 points against Westchester and 25 against Dominguez. Among those at the tournament to watch Babbitt were UCLA coach Ben Howland. UCLA is one of the final five schools on Babbitt’s list. “Luke’s been phenomenal,” Mauer said. “He’s been a great team leader.”
Mauer also praised point guard J.D. Peters, who has been averaging about 12 points and has done a solid job of handling the pressure defenses he’s face.
Galena will conclude play in the tournament today. Then Galena will play two more nationally ranked teams in its George Maldonado Tournament next week, No. 2 Artesia of Southern California and No. 8 Arlington Country Day of Florida.
“We’ve played a scheduled that’s been unbelievable,” Mauer said. “We’re playing four nationally ranked teams in seven days.”