Mar. 7—RIVERTON, Kan. — Pretty basketball doesn't necessarily matter when it comes to surviving and advancing in the prep playoffs.
Galena boys head coach Matt Meyr will be the first to tell you that a win is a win.
That's exactly what the Bulldogs got on Saturday in their Class 3A Sub-State championship game against Riverton. In a contest that saw both teams struggle to find points for most of the night, the shots started to fall late as Galena held off Riverton for a 34-33 win at Riverton High School.
The win advanced Galena (21-2) to the state quarterfinals to take on Wellsville, a 68-65 victor over Burlington, on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Galena High School.
"It's survive and advance, right," Meyr said. "We really struggled on offense today. The shots just didn't go. But credit to them because they played good defense. It was a battle from the very beginning."
The Bulldogs had an eight-point cushion with under 1:30 remaining in the final period before Riverton (15-5) made things interesting with a sudden barrage of 3-pointers.
Joel Sigua accounted for the first 3 that cut the Galena lead to 29-24 with just over a minute to go. Then after a quick Galena turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass, Jamey Richardson hoisted another one from deep to make it a two-point game, 29-27, with 51 seconds to play.
"They started hitting some shots that allowed them to creep back in it," Meyr said. "We kind of relaxed a bit but managed to make just enough free throws in the end."
All 10 of the points Galena scored in the final quarter came at the free throw line, and the last five were the most crucial as Riverton threatened with its late push.
Three freebies — one by Deacon Henson and two by Brett Sarwinski — pushed the Galena lead to five points before the Kyler Harper converted another 3-pointer for the Rams to make it 32-30 with 15 seconds showing on the game clock.
Riverton then fouled intentionally to stop the clock, and Sarwinski cashed in two more attempts from the foul line to widen the Galena lead back to four points. Riverton got one more shot to fall on a 3-point make by Landen Dunham to make it a one-point game with three ticks remaining. But the Rams, who were out of timeouts, were unable to stop the clock from expiring as Galena held the ball on its ensuing inbounds play to milk the final seconds.
"We guarded very well, but we were just a little too stagnant offensively and woke up too late," Riverton coach Bronson Schaake said. "But this is a good group of kids who worked hard. This is the first time we've been here (sub-state championship game) in a while, so it was a good stepping stone for the program."
The Bulldogs held their largest lead after Kobe McGlothlin closed the third period with back-to-back layups to make it 24-14 at the end of the third quarter.
McGlothlin finished with a team-high 11 points for Galena, while Sarwinski added nine points and Tyler Little eight points.
Richardson and Isaac Welch paced the scoring for Riverton with 10 points apiece.
FRONTENAC GIRLS 45, GIRARD 29
Frontenac dominated the middle quarters to help pull away for a 16-point win over Girard in the girls championship of the Class 3A Sub-State tournament.
Girard (16-4) held a 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter before Frontenac (16-2) went on a 24-10 surge in the second and third periods. The Raiders also posted a 14-10 advantage in the final period to put the game on ice.
Hattie Pyle and Heather Arnett led the scoring for Frontenac with 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Sydney Frankenbery and Abby Butcher chipped in seven points apiece.
Brooklyn Tallie scored eight points to lead Girard.
Contact Jared Porter on Twitter at @JaredRyanPorter.