Both teams sluggishly began the game, as the Grizzlies ran a slow-down offense and drained the game clock. After a quarter of play, Spanish Springs held an 8-2 lead.
“Galena runs their offense until they get a good shot, and our boys, we knew that going in,” Spanish Springs assistant coach John Rogers said. “We thought if we switch it up on them, we’re OK playing a slow-down game and only taking the good shots that we get. We were
OK with playing defense and I think the boys just stepped up really well.
“We kept switching up from man to zone, man to zone and I think by doing that, our boys just really got them confused. That was effective for us.”
Sticking to the same defensive strategy in the second quarter, the Cougars stretched their lead while continuing to minimize the Galena offense.
With 3:51 remaining in the first half, SSHS swingman Brandon Delong sent a baseball-like pass across the baseline to a waiting Kenny Meyer, who knocked down the open 3-pointer, pushing the Cougars’ lead to 15-6.
After a Galena layup, Spanish Springs hit another trey, this time from guard Jake Longero. That gave the Cougars an 18-8 double-digit lead with 2:15 remaining in the quarter. The half ended with the Cougars holding a 20-12 advantage.
The second half started out much like the first, with the first two minutes and 30 seconds passing before a bucket was made. Midway through the third quarter, Galena cut the Spanish Springs lead down to seven, 25-17.
Something snapped the Cougars out of their funk at that point. They closed out the quarter with an 11-2 run, fueled by three baskets from beyond the arc. The run gave Spanish Springs a 33-17 advantage going into the final quarter.
“Some games we shoot like we did tonight, and other games we’ll go cold,” Rogers said. “Tonight, because we were being a little bit more patient on offense, when the shot came up, we were catching in rhythm and putting the shot up, instead of forcing the shot.”
The hot shooting didn’t cool down for the Cougars in the fourth, and neither did their stingy defense.
Holding the Grizzlies (4-12, 2-3) to five points over the first half of the quarter, and scoreless thereafter until the final 33 seconds of the game, Spanish Springs cruised to the 46-26 win.
“I think tonight our zone and our man-to-man defense was great,” Rogers said. “Our kids were helping each other, switching when they needed to switch and running out and contesting shots when they need to contest shots. By doing that, Galena was taking poor shots, shots that I don’t think they were comfortable taking. They just couldn’t put it in the hole tonight.”
Delong finished the game with 13 points while Longero added nine points on the night.
Spanish Springs (7-8, 2-4) returns to action Tuesday, when it hosts Reno at 7:30 p.m.