The Canton-Galva High School boys basketball team was missing two starters due to injury, and the Little River High School boys basketball team took full advantage.
Freshman Jayden Garrison opened the game with back to back 3s and finished with a game-high 18 points as the Redskins defeated the Eagles, 58-23, Friday night in Little River.
Defensively, Little River was dominant all night, especially in the second half. The Redskins clamped down defensively in the fourth quarter, holding the Eagles to just three points.
The 23 points allowed is a season-best for the Little River defense.
“I thought the second half we looked better defensively,” Little River head coach Chad Lafferty said. “We were just trying to prevent them from penetrating and kicking and keeping them from getting second chance opportunities.”
Canton-Galva head coach Shane Duncan is optimistic the offense will return as his team gets healthy.
“Tonight, we had a lot of kids play some minutes that maybe they weren’t quite ready for,” Duncan said. “They were forced into a position, and I was proud of the effort they gave.”
Little River led by 11 before Canton-Galva found the scoring column on a Landon Everett fast-break layup.
The Redskins led 13-4 after one and created a 15-point lead at halftime.
Little River truly pulled away in the second half, opening up a 30-point lead heading into the final eight minutes.
The fourth quarter featured a running clock. Little River held Canton-Galva scoreless in the fourth quarter for the first seven minutes, but freshman Brayden Minson drilled a 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining to avoid a shutout.
Garrison scored half of his 18 points from beyond the arc. Older brother Jace Garrison was second on the team with 13 points, while freshman Graham Stephens scored 10.
Despite holding only a slight height advantage, Little River had its way on the glass.
“Jace Garrison and Graham Stephens, even though they’re not the tallest guys, they have a nose for the basketball, and they can go get some boards,” Lafferty said.
The Eagles did not have a player over 6-foot available. Additionally, the Eagles did not shoot the ball well and went most of the game without hitting a 3-pointer.
Of the five Eagles who scored a basket, two were freshmen, two were sophomores, and only one was a senior.
“Once again, I come back to the fact we have kids who are playing at a level they aren’t quite ready for,” Duncan said. “I can’t fault their effort at all; I’m excited for the future.”
Canton-Galva was led by Brayden Collins and Dylan Wood, who each scored six points. The Eagles are now 1-7 and travel to Goessel on Tuesday.
Little River improves to 6-2 on the year and hosts Centre on Tuesday.
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