Galion staves off Upper for basketball win
By JON KLEINKNECHT
Inquirer Sports Editor
“We can never make it easy,” said a somewhat amused Ed Rich after watching his Galion Tigers nearly blow an 8-point lead in the final 72 seconds of a 36–34 win over the Upper Sandusky Rams at the high school last night.
The triumph was the third consecutive for the Orange-and-Blue who are 7–9 overall and 4–4 in the North Central Conference. The Rams — who had beaten the locals four times in a row over two seasons prior to Friday — tumble to 8–8 overall and 6–3 in the NCC.
Galion’s Austin Prosser converted a pair of free throws with 1:12 left in the contest to give the hosts a seemingly comfortable cushion, 36–28.
A rebound bucket by Upper freshman Carson Mittermaier with :59 showing on the scoreboard clock made it 36–30. The Tigers then turned the ball over on their next three possessions with the Rams scoring buckets with 48 and 32 seconds to play, making it 36–34.
Galion’s third turnover was with 14 seconds to go. After calling a timeout, Upper Sandusky missed what would have been a game-tying shot in the paint with under three seconds left. The Tigers battled for the rebound, securing the victory.
The Orange-and-Blue played a phenomenal game defensively limiting the visitors to just 10 points in the first half. Junior guard Ridge Durbin of the Tigers matched that total himself as Galion went into halftime up 18–10.
Upper cut the gap to four points — 26–22 — by the end of the third stanza, and took the final eight minutes, 12–10.
“I think our defense was pretty stellar,” a smiling Rich said. “Winning the rebound battle (22–17) was tremendous.”
In talking about his squad’s implosion in the latter moments of the battle, he laughed and said, “We were kind of nervous. No doubt we freaked out.”
Galion made 12-of-24 field goal attempts, 4-for-10 from behind the 3-point line. The Rams were just 13-for-37 from the floor for 35 percent. Foul shooting had the winners nailing 8-of-12 and the visitors were only 6-for-13. The Tigers turned the ball over 16 times and the Rams, just 6.
Durbin tallied a team-high 11 points for Galion. Prosser added 8, Austin Chaplin and Tony Kirk, 6 each; Houston Blair and Lucas Bohach, 2 apiece; and Stephen Noggle, a free throw. Chaplin also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Trent Howard and Joe Reile garnered 11 points each for the Rams. The Tigers held Reile — Upper’s leading scorer this season — scoreless in the first half
Rich cited Lucas Bohach’s play off the bench on defense. “He really played well on the help side,” the second-year head coach stated. “What he did won’t show up in the stats, but he did a great job on defense.”
Galion’s reserves won 48–26. Brendan Pratt scored 12 points and Evan Huggins, 11, for the winners.
The Tigers host Wynford tonight in what is the final home game of the season for the locals.