Top-seeded Marquette bounces Wildcats in regional semifinals

Mike Landis, Editor
Galva head coach Chance Jones gives instructions to his team during regional semifinal action at Princeville.

Big, strong and athletic. Those ingredients helped make Ottawa Marquette the top seed in the Class 1A Princeville Regional.

All those traits were on display as the Crusaders defeated Galva 58-45 in the first semifinal game Wednesday (Feb. 20) in the PHS gym.

“We knew what we were in for,” Galva head coach Chance Jones said of Marquette’s size advantage. “We doubled down on the post. We were obviously worried about their posts and we were worried about No. 20 (leading scorer Jack Snook).”

The Crusaders built an 18-11 at the quarter behind a pair of 3-pointers from Nate Melvin. Tristan Rogers knocked down a 3-pointer to start the second quarter and pull the Wildcats within 18-14, but the Cru answered with an 11-0 run as Galva suffered through a seven-minute scoring drought.

“Until the game got away and we had to change what we were doing, I thought we did pretty well,” Jones said. “They had other kids step up and really score. I caught a couple of those kids after the game and I said, ‘We needed you to miss a little bit.’ They hit shots and once that got going, we really had trouble on the glass.”

Ottawa Marquette led 29-16 at the break, and the top seed’s lead never slipped end under double digits in the second half.

Galva did a job defensively on Marquette’s top scorer Snook, holding him to four points as the senior guard also struggled with foul issues, but big men Chase Thumm and Victor Mullen picked up the slack with dominating board work and a combined 22 points.

Brayden Collins topped the Cats with 12 points, while Ballard and Rogers added nine apiece as the Wildcats bowed out at 14-17 on the season.

“I’m really proud of these kids,” Jones said. “They fought through a lot of different types of adversity and stuck together through it and stayed with each other.”

“Some of the confidence we were looking for from the young guys took all year, but at the same time I’m happy they got it towards the end of the year,” Jones added. “We’ve played with a lot of confidence in the last month or so and that’s what we’ve been trying to get out of them — win or lose, play with more confidence.”

He also applauded the efforts of his three seniors — Raige Ballard, Gunner Spivey and Parker Taylor.

“Those three seniors are exactly what I want out of players every year,” Jones said. “They’ve been with me for three years and Galva is going to miss their hustle and effort, for sure. Hopefully these other guys have seen that and step up in those roles.”

Jones coaches final GHS basketball game, accepts baseball job

The regional semifinal loss marked the final basketball game on the Galva sidelines for Jones.

He accepted the head coaching job at Spoon River College last fall, and will now start the process of bringing junior college basketball back to Canton. Spoon River is reinstating its men’s basketball program starting with the 2020-21 season, and Jones is the man in charge.

“I haven’t done a lot other than some planning and talking to people,” Jones said of his Spoon River job. “It’s all brand new there so we’re setting up literally everything.”

He’ll spend much of the 2019-20 basketball season in gyms recruiting players for Spoon River, but still figures to take in a few Galva games.

“I think the cool thing is I’ll still be able to watch these kids that I coached next year, too,” Jones said. “I’ll have enough free time to do some of that. I’ll be involved in their lives, for sure.”

Many of those kids will see him this spring as Jones has agreed to take over the GHS baseball program.

As for his two basketball stints at Galva, Jones led the Wildcats to 45 wins in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, two regular-season Lincoln Trail Conference titles and one Lincoln Trail Conference Tournament title. Since his return to Galva for the 2017-18 season, the Wildcats won 53 games in three seasons and made a regional championship game appearance.

“Yeah, I’m going to miss Galva,” Jones said. “I’ll still be around. I live right by the school and will get involved in the youth league stuff, so don’t be surprised if you see me around. Of course I’ll miss Galva. I love Galva.”

Princes oust R-W

In Wednesday’s second semifinal at Princeville, the host Princes pulled away from ROWVA-Williamsfield in the second half en route to a 63-48 win over the Cougars.

The Cougars hung around in the opening half behind the scoring of Tucker Sams and Calvin Peterson. The game was knotted 17-all at the quarter and R-W trailed 26-23 at the half.

The Princes started quick in the third quarter and stretched the lead to 47-37 going into the final eight minutes.

Isaac Cordle had a big second half for the Cougars, scoring 12 of his team-high 14 points. Sams finished with 12 points and Peterson added 10.

Princeville was led by the three-pronged attack of Cole Daily with 20 points, Cody Thole 18 and Justin Janssen 15.

R-W finishes the season at 19-12.

Flying Geese sail past Ridgewood

Ridgewood couldn’t hang with top-seeded Wethersfield in semifinal action at the Class 1A Annawan Regional Wednesday (Feb. 20) night.

The Flying Geese ripped off a 15-0 run in the opening half and cruised to a 62-29 win over the Spartans to advance to the regional title game.

Wethersfield’s Isaac Frank scored 14 of his 16 points in the opening half to lead the Geese to a 35-14 advantage at the break. Wethersfield sophomore standout Coltin Quagliano led all scorers with 26 points.

Ridgewood checks out at 14-17 on the season.