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Grizz get by Cougars, 55-45
by Dan Eckles
Jan 28, 2014 | 897 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs' senior guard Jake Longero (in purple) looks for an open teammate as Galena defender Josiah Wood pursues the action during Tuesday's game at GHS.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs' senior guard Jake Longero (in purple) looks for an open teammate as Galena defender Josiah Wood pursues the action during Tuesday's game at GHS.
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Tribune photo by John Byrne - SSHS senior swingman Hunter Pinto elevates in the lane for a short jumper in the first-half Tuesday.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - SSHS senior swingman Hunter Pinto elevates in the lane for a short jumper in the first-half Tuesday.
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RENO -- The Galena Grizzlies dominated a key four-minute stretch of the third period Tuesday night and it was likely the difference in their DI North crossover league game against Spanish Springs. The end result was a 55-45 home win for Galena that knocked Spanish Springs out of first place in the High Desert League.

The two northern Nevada prep basketball powers were deadlocked at 26-26 after Spanish Springs got back-to-back layups from Dupree Kness with just over four minutes to go in the third quarter. Galena went on to outscore Spanish Springs 13-6 through the remainder of the period and Spanish Springs was never able to tie or take the lead again.

"Our shot selection was good, but our turnovers were not," Galena coach Brian Voyles said. "Still, it was good to play from ahead. Offensively, we were able to work it around and be more patient. That turned out to be pretty significant."

Galena got into the bonus early, even benefitting from an 8-to-1 foul margin against Spanish Springs with just over two minutes to go in the third. The Grizz also got an extra possession and trip to the charity stripe after Cougars coach Kyle Penney was whistled for a late third quarter technical foul.

Galena got a layup off a baseline cut from Alex McClellan to cap the third period scoring and take a 39-32 lead, equaling the largest scoreboard gap of the game to that point.

"We had a stretch in the third period that hurt us and that's probably the difference in the game," Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. "We were on the road, playing obviously in a tough environment and against a good team as well. Our kids competed and grinded it out. They played through a lot of different types of adversity throughout a few segments in the game and yet they kept coming back. We just couldn't get over the hump and some of that is fighting through so much adversity and maybe a bit of fatigue as well."

The host Grizzlies extended their edge to eight, 44-36, after a pair of free throws by Scott Geerling at the 5:25 mark of the fourth quarter. Spanish Springs clawed its way back and was able to stay in contention, trimming the Galena lead to four on three occasions. The last of those came after Cougars point guard Kenny Meyer made good on 1-of-2 foul shots at the 2:02 mark of the fourth, leaving the scoreboard to read 49-45.

Spanish Springs was unable to get any closer and Galena connected on 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to close out the 10-point triumph.

Galena was effective in slowing down Meyer, one of the region's top scorers, who posted 35 and 22 points respectively in games against North Valleys and Bishop Manogue last weekend. Meyer finished with 19 Tuesday but was just 5-of-14 shooting from the field as Galena defenders were draped on his every move. Meyer wound up fouling out with 1:02 to go in the contest.

"We had two kids today who knew going in that was their job, to be relentless in guarding Kenny," Voyles said. "They traded off and they did a pretty good job. He still had 19 points but he had to work hard for everything he got. We wanted to make somebody else be the hero for them because we already knew Kenny could be."

Kness chipped in 13 points for Spanish Springs but no other Cougar had more than six points in the loss.

The SSHS cagers finished 14-of-38 (36.8 percent) shooting from the floor. The biggest discrepancy in the game was at the foul line. Spanish Springs made 13-of-24 free-throw tries but Galena finished 25-of-37 at the stripe.

The first half was a bit slower paced in the offensive ledger. Spanish Springs took a 6-3 advantage after back-to-back treys from Jake Longero and Meyer, but Galena wrapped up the first period on a 10-2 burst and the visiting Cougars never led again.

Galena stretched its lead to 20-13 after a 3-point play by Dillon Voyles with just over three minutes left before halftime. Spanish Springs then proceeded to rip off seven straight points and knot the matchup at 20 apiece after another Longero 3-pointer, this time with 32 seconds to go before the intermission.

Galena took a 21-20 lead into the locker room at the halftime break.

Galena's big man, 6-foot 6-inch junior post Zack Lessinger, leads the Grizzlies in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per outing this winter. He finished with 13 points Tuesday, but he made his presence felt as the SSHS defense was constantly forced to double team him.

"He hurt us early on and he got Dupree for two quick fouls. That hurt as well," Penney said of Lessinger. "He's a tough guard, but I thought we did a god job of creating some problems for him as well. But in key moments of the game, they were able to get him an easy bucket ... He did impact the game no doubt."

Josiah Wood chipped in 10 points for Galena.

Galena (14-6, 9-2 SL), which leads the Sierra League, has won nine straight conference clashes after dropping its first two of the year -- in December to Reno and Carson.

Spanish Springs came into the game leading the High Desert League, but fell a game behind Reed following the loss at Galena. Spanish Springs sits 13-8 overall and 8-3 in league meetings. The Cougars travel to play at Reno Friday at 7 p.m.

"We're just looking at the next one," Penney said. "It's too early to look at the big picture. There are too many games left and too many good teams ... We're still in control of our being No. 1 (in the HDL). For us it's about still defending our spot. We must defend the position we're in and look to improve on it."

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