For Reed, the road to state will begin at Galena against the second seed from the Sierra League. While the Grizzlies have taken victories in both of their contests against Reed this season, Galena coach Brian Voyles said he expects some fireworks during Tuesday night’s game.
“It’s going to be wild,” Voyles said. “It’s the playoffs, so the intensity is going to be up. Hopefully on our part, we understand how important each possession is. The focus that you have to have in the playoffs is crucial. Especially against a team like Reed. If you get caught up in their movement offense and don’t take care of the ball yourself, then it turns into an up-and-down game. I’m not sure that’s the kind of game we want to play against them.”
Although Galena managed to grab a 52-48 non-conference win over the Raiders during the Rail City Classic before topping Reed 52-43 in a crossover league match just over a week ago, Voyles said there is plenty to be worried about when facing Reed.
“For us, probably our best lineup is our biggest lineup and for them they don’t really have a lot of post players, so the matchups are a little strained playing against Reed,” he said. “A lot of their guys penetrate and can cut and shoot and drive. It’s just different styles of play.”
Knowing how well the Raiders break into the paint and create from there, Voyles said the Grizzlies will have to prevent Reed’s entrance into the lane, starting with RHS junior guard Trae Wells.
“Trae is a real proficient shooter that can also drive a little better than you think,” Voyles said. “He penetrates so well, but if you back off too much he’s going to pull up and shoot. He’s been a very accurate shooter for Reed this season. He’s just a tough matchup because he can do so much with the ball in his hands.
“So our perimeter defense has to be better. We kind of got caught up in some back doors against them last time because our defensive stances were too close to them. We’re going to back off a little on the perimeter so we don’t allow them to drive as much. When they drive, they get good kickouts or they get easy back doors so we have to eliminate that.”
• Spanish Springs is the other Division I North squad from the Rail City looking to make some noise in the postseason. A visit from Carson High is the first obstacle. With a 56-36 loss to the Senators two weeks ago fresh in their minds, the Cougars are ready to exact some revenge.
“The game in Carson is no indication of who Spanish Springs is as a team,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said of the Senators’ recent victory. “That win doesn't give us any advantage. We know we didn't get Spanish Springs’ best shot. We have a lot of respect for those guys and what they have done this year. There is a reason they are the No. 2 seed on that side and they could have easily been the No. 1 seed. They beat Hug, Galena and a very good Reed team. That says enough about them.”
In order for the Senators to pull out a win against Spanish Springs yet again, Mendeguia said Carson will have to play a sound defensive game away from home.
“The key for us is to be able to handle the pressure of being on the road in the playoffs in a hostile environment,” he said. “They are a very good team and we are going to have to play a great game in order to compete with them. Spanish Springs creates matchup problems with whomever they play. The have a great inside and outside game. Their post players can hurt you inside as well as step outside and hit jumpers. They have a bunch of guards that can hurt you as well because all of their guards can shoot, handle the ball and play great defense. It creates a lot of matchup problems when a team can do that.”
With the first-round contest set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Mendeguia said he is expecting a battle against the Cougars.
“First of all, Kyle Penney does an outstanding job with his teams year in and year out and this year’s team is no different,” he said. “They are very well coached and they buy into what Kyle wants them to do. You can always expect a very physical dogfight when you play Spanish Springs. They work really hard. They have a lot of pride at that school. I expect a very high intensity, high energy type of game.”
•In the Division I-A, Sparks will be looking for revenge a year in the making. After trouncing Fernley 64-35 during the regular season last year, the Railroaders found themselves hosting the Vaqueros in the first round of the playoffs. Rather than a cakewalk though, Sparks suffered a heart-breaking 60-59 loss in overtime that eliminated it from the postseason.
Now a year later, the Maroon and Gold gets another crack at Fernley with a trip to the semifinals on the line. Fernley coach Derek Miller said the year-old upset won’t factor into Tuesday night's tilt.
“They have kids that were in that game last year and we have kids that were as well, but I always tell my kids that every game is a different game,” Miller said. “That’s the way we’re looking at it. It’s a completely different year and team. We just know if we do things we should, we should have chances to be successful, and we proved that last year.”
During the first week of January Sparks defeated the Vaqueros convincingly 58-44, a victory that jumpstarted the Railroaders’ current 12-game win streak. Miller said that if the Vaqueros are to snap that streak, they will have to get a better performance rebounding.
“They killed us on the boards,” he said. “D.J. Devine just slaughtered us on the boards the last time we played them. He played really well and we just had issues with him on the glass. They just out-rebounded us because they’re a little more physical inside than we are.
“It’s going to be a hard fought game. I’m excited because I like playing there. The Brickhouse is noisy and there should be a crowd there. We’re just ready to go play again. We’re finally to the playoffs and that’s a time of year you want to be a part of.”