Wildcats take winning streak into postseason
The Galva Wildcats are playing their best basketball at exactly the right time.
After dropping a makeup game to Princeville 44-29 on Wednesday (Feb. 13), the Wildcats closed the regular season with three straight wins on consecutive days — 50-35 over Stark County, 70-57 over Ridgewood and 62-47 over Annawan in the home finale Saturday afternoon.
“I think we finally are starting to play with more confidence than what we’ve had — that’s all,” said Galva coach Chance Jones after Saturday afternoon’s win over Annawan.
“We’re causing a lot of turnovers these last few days, but we’ve caused turnovers all year,” Jones added. “We’ve got a little offensive confidence going right now and then that cranks our defense up, too.”
Princeville’s defense held the Wildcats to single digits in all four quarters as the Princes built leads of 14-9 at the quarter, 26-15 at half and 36-24 after three frames.
Gunner Spivey topped the Wildcats with 14 points.
Galva bounced back nicely with consecutive road wins over Stark County and Ridgewood.
At Toulon Thursday, Tristan Rogers led a second-quarter surge that put the Wildcats in control. Rogers scored 11 of his game-high 19 points, including three 3-pointers, to put Galva on top 28-15 at the break.
The Wildcats stretched the margin to 44-19 after three quarters. Raige Ballard added 13 points in the win.
Rogers continued his hot shooting Friday night in Woodhull as he knocked down five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 19 points in the win over the Spartans.
Rogers had eight points in the first quarter, including two treys, as Galva built a 22-14 lead. The Wildcats led 36-27 at the half and extended the lead to 53-39 after three frames. Galva hit 13 of 19 free throws in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
Four Wildcats finished in double figures, including Spivey with 16, Parker Taylor with 13 and Ballard 10.
Ganon Greenman and Mitchell Brooks topped Ridgewood with 17 points apiece.
Another hot start paced Galva to its Saturday afternoon home win over the Braves. Galva bolted to a 22-8 lead after eight minutes as Rogers hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points for the Wildcats.
Annawan whittled away at the deficit, pulling within 29-19 at the break and 29-26 early in the third quarter, but Galva regained control with a 9-2 run to close the frame. Spivey halted the Annawan run with a bucket and nice assist to Ballard for a layup, and Rogers added a three-point play.
“Tristan’s been playing lights out offensively, but it’s not just him,” Jones said. “We’re just playing with more confidence. We’ve been trying to find a way and we think we’re on to something right now.”
The Braves pulled within 50-44 with just over two minutes to play, but Karter Smith and Ballard combined to hit 9 of 10 free throws to seal the win. Colby Peterson sent the crowd home with a buzz as he drained a 3-pointer from the corner in the closing seconds.
Rogers led another balanced Galva attack with a game-high 16 points. Ballard added 12 points, followed by Spivey 11 and Brayden Collins 10.
Galva finished the regular season 13-16 overall and 5-4 in the LTC.
“It’s been a fun week,” Jones said.
The Wildcats head into the postseason on a roll, and if they can take care of business in the opening round against Stark County, will butt heads with top-seeded Ottawa Marquette in the semifinals at the Class 1A Princeville Regional.
“I don’t know,” Jones said when asked how dangerous his Wildcats could be in the postseason. “Teams on a run can be dangerous.”
“I haven’t watched much of Ottawa Marquette yet because we have Stark County first, but I’m hearing Ottawa Marquette is pretty darn good,” Jones added.
Final LTC standings
Wethersfield wrapped up a perfect 9-0 run through the Lincoln Trail Conference to claim the title outright.
After the Flying Geese in the varsity race it was Princeville 8-1, ROWVA-Williamsfield 7-2, Annawan, Galva and Mercer County 5-4, Ridgewood 3-6, West Central 2-7, United 1-8 and Stark County 0-9.
United captured the fresh-soph LTC title with an undefeated 9-0 mark.
After the Red Storm it was Princeville and Wethersfield 7-2, Mercer County 6-3, Ridgewood 5-3, ROWVA-Williamsfield 3-5, Stark County 3-6, Annawan 2-7, West Central 1-8 and Galva 0-9.