But the Raiders finally hit a speed bump in their fourth game in five days, simply being outplayed at Galena as the Grizzlies snatched a 69-46 triumph in a Northern 4A crossover league clash Tuesday night.
“We’re not going to make any excuses. We knew what we had in front of us,” Reed boys basketball coach Dustin Hall said. “If you had told me that we would have gone 3-1 in those four games, I would have taken it. I’m not going to sit here and beat the kids up. No excuse, we got flat out beat tonight. Galena outplayed us. We’ve got to get better.”
The Raiders came out ice cold, sinking just two field goals in the first six minutes of the game. On the other side, Galena enjoyed the friendly confines of the Cave.
The Grizzlies also took a page out of Reed’s book, pushing the tempo more than usual for a team that thrives playing at a snail’s pace. Because the Raiders couldn’t hit a shot, they rarely implemented their full-court press, allowing Galena to score many easy baskets down low in transition.
Caleb Wood flourished early on for the Grizzlies, scoring seven of his team’s first 11 points in the opening four minutes of the game, staking Galena to an 11-2 edge.
Then it was Kirk Gunderson’s turn to enjoy the “can’t miss” theme the Grizz instituted for the night. Gunderson came off the bench and poured in seven points in the last 3:21 of the first quarter, including back-to-back buckets in the paint to close out the first eight minutes of action. Galena led 23-9 after one.
“Obviously we struggled to shoot the ball, but to me, our defense just broke down,” Hall said. “We weren’t disciplined. We weren’t fundamentally sound, too many gambles, too many risks. We didn’t play team defense tonight.”
Reed senior Kyle Ross was about the only Raider who could make a shot in the second quarter. Reed had the ball with 13 seconds before halftime, but turned the ball over when the Grizzlies surprised the Raiders with a trap on the other side of midcourt. Luckily for the Blue and Gold, Galena was called for an offensive foul on a drive to the hoop with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
Ross was left open down the sideline and he took a three-quarters court pass and launched up a leaning 3-pointer and ripped the twine at the buzzer, cutting the halftime deficit to 39-26 with his 11th point of the quarter.
That 13-point margin was the smallest gap since Ross scored six straight points earlier in the second period on a trey and a three-point play in a 30-second span. That 6-0 run made it a 31-18 game with 4:49 to go in the first half.
But Reed couldn’t keep that momentum after bringing its reserves back into the game. Galena increased its lead to 18, 39-21, with two minutes to go on a pair of free throws by Gunderson, who led all scorers with 18 points.
The Raiders hoped that the five straight points scored in the final 34 seconds of the first half by Ross would create some traction for after the intermission. It didn’t.
Galena scored the first four points of the second half and looked primed to pull away. Reed had other ideas.
Ross dropped his second trey of the third quarter to fire up his team and start a 7-0 rally. Two straight steals led to fast break layups by Devin Gray, closing the gap to single digits (48-39) for the first time since it was 11-4. The Raiders wouldn’t be within 10 points of the hosts again.
Over the last four minutes of the third, Galena outscored Reed 10-5, but held the visitors to just two points in the fourth quarter to earn the lopsided victory.
After playing with fire the past two games and surviving scares in wins, Hall is looking forward to using this loss as a learning tool.
“There’s going to be some good film out of this,” Hall said. “We’ll learn and get better from this. I don’t like losing, but we will learn from it and we will get better. It is what it is.”
Ross was the lone Raider in double figures in the loss, finishing with 17 after hitting four shots from behind the arc.
In its highest scoring output of the season, Galena got balanced scoring behind Gunderson. EJ Poulson and Wood both scored 10 points, while Blaine Shively and Tanner Chatterley added nine and eight respectively.
Reed (9-6 overall, 8-3 in Northern 4A) will play Reno for the second time this week when the Huskies come to town Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. High Desert League clash after losing to the Raiders by 12 Monday.