STERLING – Sterling started Tuesday’s nonconference game against Galesburg with a 5-0 run and ended it with a SportsCenter-worthy layup from Zach Rehmert.
Between that? Not so good.
The Golden Warriors ran and ran, only to eventually get run into the ground in a 73-50 loss to the Silver Streaks at Musgrove Fieldhouse.
Sterling coach Jim Preston stuck to his pressing, up-tempo style, but it only seemed to play into the hands of the athletic club from Galesburg. The Streaks, while committing 23 turnovers, scored the bulk of their points on layups after solving the Warriors’ defense.
“Our goal tonight was to get them playing full-court and us to be able to attack in an open-court situation rather than having to run half-court offense,” Preston said. “You don’t like to lose, but I saw some things tonight, and I think we’re making progress. What we’re asking the kids to do is something that’s a little bit scary, because you’ve really got to be aggressive and commit to it.
“They’re doing a good job with it, although at times tonight it didn’t look like it.”
Doing the bulk of the damage for Galesburg (6-5) was Grant Gibson, a powerful sophomore guard who tossed in 25 points, slightly more than his average of 22.3. Gibson also grabbed seven rebounds to go along with two steals and two assists.
“We like to play push and go, and get into the open court and make plays,” Gibson said, “and that’s what we did tonight.”
“He’s a tough matchup,” Galesburg coach Mike Reynolds said of Gibson. “He shoots a high percentage, and when he passes the ball well, we’re pretty hard to guard.”
Gibson’s 3-pointer with 3:12 to play gave Galesburg its largest lead at 70-38, then Sterling closed the game on a 12-3 surge. Rehmert led the Warriors (4-5) with 14 points, Zack Everett had nine and Micah Miller added eight.
Galesburg’s better days are likely ahead. Gibson is a sophomore, as is fellow guard Joe Williams (11 points). Ethan Meeker (13 points) is a freshman, while Denzel Jones (8 points) is a junior. Starting point guard Carson Cheesman is a senior, but didn’t play due to illness.
“Everybody responded well,” Reynolds said. “I was proud of our guys tonight.”
Star of the game: Grant Gibson, Galesburg, 25 points, 7 rebounds
Key performers: Zach Rehmert, Sterling, 14 points; Ethan Meeker, Galesburg, 13 points
Up next: Sterling vs. Rochelle, 5 p.m. Friday at DeKalb Tourney