Galena head coach Tom Maurer knew he had his work cut out for him. He also knew he had a pretty good basketball team led by an even better junior forward.
His prized 6-8 junior helped set his mind at ease Saturday night with a 54-51 win against Mojave in the Nevada Class 4A State Championship.
Luke Babbitt scored 25 pointsin the victory. It was the second consecutive season a team from Northern Nevada has won the title - a rare feat.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team," said Maurer. "I told our team after the game that we're like an Italian family. We yell, we scream, we kiss, we hug and then we sit down and eat together."
Babbitt is the No. 24-ranked player in the country in the class of 2008 rankings according to ScoutHoops.com.
Although in some respect, Galena may have been an underdog, Babbitt said he only cared about the win.
"I'm really excited because it's a great team accomplishment," he said Monday. "It's a total team effort."
For the season, Babbitt ended up averaging 27 points and 10 rebounds a game. The lefty face-up shooter had to cap off the championship establishing himself in the low post.
His coach challenged him before the semifinal victory against Canyon Springs to score inside. Babbitt followed the doctor's orders.
"I just wanted to work on everything and I was able to do that," he added.
With his season out of the way, Babbitt returns his focus to recruiting.
Sometime this week, Babbitt will choose between Arizona, Gonzaga, Nevada, Ohio State and UCLA. It appears that sometime will be Friday.
"I still haven't talked to my coach, who was in Las Vegas until today, but I think it's going to be Friday," he said. "We'll have some sort of announcement on Friday I think."
The decision had already been made.
"I've pretty much known for a while where I wwanted to go," Babbitt said, "but I decided to wait until after the season so I could concentrate on our goal of winning the state championship.
Babbitt indicated he made up his mind late in January.
Babbitt visited Ohio State on Jan. 27. He's taken visits to UCLA, Arizona and Nevada. He said earlier this month he didn't feel he would wind up taking a visit to Gonzaga.