In the first half, Galena had active hands on defense and its efforts resulted in several turnovers and missed shots. It ended the first quarter with an 11-6 lead. The second quarter was a similar story as the Grizzlies held their SSHS counterparts to only four points.
Spanish Springs was forced to work hard for every point it scored. The Cougars struggled on offense to the tune of only five made shots in the first half. The Cougars also had several missed opportunities, one of which was an attempted dunk by senior center Phil Smith that rimmed out.
However, the second half was a completely different story. The SSHS hoopsters got off to a much better start by scoring 18 points when they came out of the locker room in the third quarter. Their energy was much higher compared to the first half. Galena, on the other hand, was held to only seven points in the third quarter and 12 points in the fourth.
Spanish Springs tied the game at 24-24 with 4:05 left in the third on a 3-point play by freshman Jake Longero. The Cougars never looked back.
Galena seemed to lose focus in the fourth quarter and became frustrated. Grizz players Nate Hosmer and Corey Smith were eventually called for technical fouls.
The Cougars then began to use their size to their advantage. They used Phil Smith and Brian Smith to clog the paint and deny whoever drove into the lane. Brian Smith had two key blocks in the third quarter to help his team pull away.
The Grizzlies attempted to come back late in the fourth but fell short. They cut the deficit to five points with three minutes to go but could get no closer because the Cougars kept making their free throws. Spanish Springs made 14 of its 22 free-throw attempts for the game.
SSHS junior Brandon Delong made five of his six foul shots. He finished with nine points. Galena only made 7 of 14.
Ryan Swanson led SSHS in scoring with 13 points.
Max Erickson led Galena with nine points followed by Caleb Wood with eight points.
Spanish Springs improved to 6-8 overall and Galena fell to 5-10 overall. The Cougars’ next game is at home against North Valleys Friday at 7:30 p.m.