After struggling to a 5-17 record with a young and inexperienced lineup in the 2011-12, the Scots have already matched last year’s win total with a 5-4 mark.
“We’re off to a good start,” Galloway coach Jim Hilleary said. “Our goal was to double, or better, our win total from last year. We’ll see how things go once we start getting more into our region schedule in the next couple of weeks.”
Galloway has been helped by the maturing of a group of players who were freshmen and sophomores last season and are now more seasoned as sophomore and juniors.
“We have had younger teams the last couple of years, and our younger players have gotten experience playing those years and that has benefitted us,” Hilleary said.
Galloway has shown how far they have come in two of their last games before Christmas.
The Scots trailed by 13 points at halftime in a Dec. 11 game against Our Lady of Mercy before coming back in the second half to take a 62-57 victory.
In their next game against Class AA team Temple, Dec. 14, Galloway trailed by one point at the end of the third quarter after leading by eight at halftime. But, the Scots held on for a 64-61 overtime win.
For Hilleary, depth and conditioning have played key roles in the Scots’ late-game success.
“We’re really consistent in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We have 14 guys, so we have a lot of depth. We’re able to bring a lot of guys in and out of the game, so we’re fresh in the fourth quarter. We work hard on conditioning in the offseason, so we’re in very good shape and that helps us play well late in the game.”
Effort is another factor in Galloway’s success for Hilleary, who said he places an emphasis on outworking its opponents.
“Our goal in every game is to be the hardest-working team in the gym,” he said. “Whether we win by 20 points, lose by 20 points or scratch out a close win, we are going after defensive and offensive rebounds, going for steals, taking charges. We track all those kind of things and they all track very well for us. We’re a hard-working team and the guys give the best effort they can every game.”
Sophomore guard Roland Seim leads the team in scoring with around 16 points a game, while senior guard Alex Slawson is averaging about 10 points per game and junior forward John Gabianelli near nine points a contest.
Junior forward Johvonn Smith has provided a strong presence under the basket for the Scots with 8.5 rebounds and five blocked shots a game.
Galloway will try to maintain its momentum in a tough Region 5A that includes formidable local rivals such as Holy Innocents’ and Mount Vernon Presbyterian as well as state powerhouses like Greenforest Christian, W.D. Mohammed and Landmark Christian.
“There are a lot of tough regions in the Atlanta area, so I don’t know if it is the toughest region in the state in Class A,” Hilleary said. “But, it ranks up there. You don’t get a night off in that region.”