Coming to Fallon for a High Desert League match-up has been an every-year battle for any Galena boys' basketball team.
Hitting the free throws late in the game iced the game for the Grizzlies as Tom Maurer's team squeezed out a 56-49 league win over the Greenwave at the Elmo Dericco Gymnasium Tuesday night. Galena converted 20 of 27 free throws while Fallon made eight of 11.
"I anticipated that game. I don't think my players did," Maurer said about the classic league battle. "You never walk out here with a victory. We were a very lucky team."
Maurer felt Fallon deserved the win because the Wave outplayed and "outsmarted" the Grizzlies.
"You have to be great in the classroom, and they get an F, a D-minus for effort," said Maurer in evaluating his team's performance.
From a physical standpoint, Galena had the edge and used its muscle to grab rebounds on the offensive end of the floor. The Grizzlies pulled down at least two to three rebounds per possession, but failed to get its shots to fall in.
Maurer pointed out the guards didn't execute well on the second and third chance points.
"We have some people who don't understand how to get them the ball," he said.
Fallon coach Corey Williams felt his team played hard enough to win the league game.
"I think they saw they can beat teams like Galena," Williams said. "We will have trouble matching up against a team that's athletic. We make it up by playing hard."
Trailing 37-36 with 2:28 left in the third quarter, the Grizzlies turned on the pressure and cracked Fallon's offense by turning a couple of steals into layins and free throws.
Eric Bischoff pumped in two free throws to give his team the lead it never lost for the remainder of the game. Eric Maupin scored on the ensuing possession by converting his layin into a three-point play after being fouled.
Derek Lorenzen frustrated the Greenwave defense late in the game, mainly because Fallon's Jeff Weed was stuck on the bench with four fouls.
"I think he was doing a good job on Lorenzen," Williams said of Weed's defense.
The senior guard scored the Grizzlies' next five of seven points with a layup and a 3-pointer from the top of the arch. He led both teams in scoring with 24 points, 10 of which came from the charity strip.
Fallon dug itself a hole too deep to come out of with its turnovers and Galena's quick scoring. Kevin Flores managed to cut the deficit to four points after sinking two free throws with 4:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. Steven Stern powered a two-point shot in the key on a fast break cutting the margin to two points before Galena outscored the Wave 6-1 in the last four minutes.
Right from the start of the game, both teams encountered a classic dogfight. Fallon opened the game with a 8-4 lead and managed to maintain its control over the Grizzlies until Lorenzen converted a steal into two points with 3:41 left in the first quarter.
Down by three points, Weed swished a long 3-pointer and Flores muscled a layup while being trapped by three defenders.
The second quarter saw five lead changes and one tie before Fallon got the upper hand on a technical called on the Galena bench over a charge with 2.5 seconds left in the quarter.
Weed sunk both free throws and inbounded the ball to Stern who whipped it to Flores for the lead changing 3-pointer as time expired in the half. Weed led Fallon with 15 points, Stern added 12 and Flores tallied 10 points.