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Galena girls down Spanish Springs, end Cougars season
by Tribune Staff
Feb 16, 2011 | 793 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Galena girls basketball team picked a fine time to have a hot shooting night from the 3-point arc. The Grizzlies perimeter prowess propelled them to a 54-35 first-round home playoff win over Spanish Springs Tuesday night.

The visiting Cougars were a game foe early on but could not keep up the Grizzlies scoring pace. That's because Galena was red-hot from long range. The Grizz buried 5 of 7 shots from 3-point land in the first two quarters, largely thanks to the hot hand of Galena's all-state forward Emily Burns, who buried 4 of 5 trey attempts in the first half and finished with 18 points.

"Absolutely, that's huge," Galena coach Karen Friel said of her team's early shooting success. "It's also kind of a dangerous thing. You don't want to end up settling for that all night, but it gets us going. We'd like to look inside first, but lot of the time, if we hit a few, we keep shooting. It gets a little scary, but it does make us go."

Galena had a 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the first quarter, but Spanish Springs did not roll over. The Cougars got a pair of Lyndsey Anderson foul shots and a Riley Holladay runner in the final 25 seconds of the first period and trailed by just three, 18-15, after the first eight minutes.

It was the second quarter that doomed Spanish Springs. The Cougars managed just five points in the period. Galena scored 17 of the first 20 points through the initial seven-plus minutes of the second quarter and had a comfortable 35-20 advantage at the intermission.

"It's hard to play the upset card when Galena comes out and shoots like that," Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles said. "I thought we played hard and competed. They were just better than us tonight."

Julianna Waller got a driving layup in traffic to fall and converted 1 of 2 free throws for the Cougars in the first 40 seconds of the third period. That trimmed Galena's lead to 35-23, but that's as close as Spanish Springs could get the rest of the way.

The Cougars trailed by 15 at the half and when both teams put up six points in the third quarter, the gap was still 15, 41-26, heading into the final period.

Any slim hopes Spanish Springs had of mounting a comeback were nixed when Galena scored the first six points of the fourth quarter. That left the Grizz ahead 47-26. It was its largest lead of the night.

Spanish Springs got back to within 15, 50-35, after a Sam Owens runner at the 2:28 mark of the fourth, but it could get no closer.

In the end, Spanish Springs could not get enough good looks on the offensive end. And when it did get open looks at the hoop, Cougar shooters could not knock them down. Spanish Springs hit only one 3-pointer on the night and finished a lackluster 12-of-49 shooting in the loss (24 percent).

"We just couldn't get anything going offensively," Eckles said. "We didn't have enough good offensive possessions, and when we did, we couldn't knock down the shot.

"It was tough for us tonight, but we've got a young group. We set a goal to make the playoffs after we missed out last year, and we accomplished that. Our girls can get better if they continue to work."

Galena, which shot 21-of-52 from the field (40 percent), did not hit a 3-pointer after halftime, but the damage had been done before the break.

Spanish Springs forced more turnovers, 17, than it committed, 12, but Galena helped its cause by out-rebounding its guests 39-30.

In addition to Burns' 18 points, the Grizz got three other players in double figures in the scoring column. Amanda Seabert posted 13 points while Taylor Schaller and Amanda Wasley both chipped in 10.

"At this time of year, that's the only way we're going to win, getting those contributions from other kids," Friel said. "We can't have just Taylor and Emily carry us. If we have four kids in double figures, that makes us a much better team."

Anderson, who has been a force all year for the Cougars, paced the Spanish Springs offense. She had 17 points and also grabbed 15 rebounds.

"I love how hard she plays," Friel said of Anderson. "Sure we watched film and scouted. We knew how good she was. We put our best defender, Seabert, on her. She was working her tail off and Anderson still ended up with 17 and 15."

The loss ends Spanish Springs season. The Cougars finished the year at 14-13 overall. Galena (21-5) advances to a Northern 4A regional semifinal matchup against Reno at 5 p.m. Friday night in Carson.

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