Gordon reaches 125

(Wenham MA) Another commencement and with it the loosening of connections with some players/families from Gordon College men’s basketball.

This time around there were four players: Taylor Bajema, Hans Miersma, Craig McFarlane, and Jason Dempsey. And with each of the players comes family that we have gotten to know in special ways.

The graduation “casualties” don’t hit me until the opening game of the next season.

The weather was a major consideration for this outdoor event. It was raining in Connecticut and we experienced drizzling on our way to Gordon from Amesbury. We were on campus an hour early and there were plenty of umbrellas in place. BUT GOD kept the showers away from campus. PTL

Julie and I wish the graduates well. Hopefully they will turn up at some games next season.

Below are an assortment of the pictures I took at the 125th Gordon Graduation.

(All of the pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Craig McFarlane

Craig McFarlane

David and Jason

David and Jason

Jason and Dominic

Jason and Dominic

Dempsey family

Dempsey family

Jason and significant other

Jason and significant other

Josh

Josh

Shawn Roach

Shawn Roach

Pam & Jeff with Taylor

Pam & Jeff with Taylor

Bajema brothers

Bajema brothers

Craig with his mother

Craig with his mother

Miersma family

Miersma family

Graduation crowd

Graduation crowd

Hans, Taylor, Jason

Hans, Taylor, Jason

Birdseye view

Birdseye view

 

 

 

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Wentworth closes out Gordon 60-53

Nico Donato (20 points) and Dominic Paradis chase a loose ball

Nico Donato (20 points) and Dominic Paradis chase a loose ball

The interior defense of Wentworth limited Hans Miersma to three shots

The interior defense of Wentworth limited Hans Miersma to three shots

(Boston MA) It was the most exciting game of the year.  Unfortunately, the exciting game was at Nichols and had the #1 seed Bison (17-1) getting ousted by #8 seed UNE (5-13) on a last-second three.

The game I was at (#5 Gordon versus #4 Wentworth) was a painful 60-53 season-ending defeat for the team from Wenham on Tuesday night.

The Scots (11-15) faced a very effective Wentworth zone that caused fifteen GC turnovers.  The Leopards closed off the inside (Hans Miersma had three shots) and forced Gordon to look for points elsewhere.  “Elsewhere” didn’t contribute much in this one as you‘ll realize when you check the Efficiency list below.

The end game was a nightmare again for the Scots.  Gordon looked to be on the verge of mailing in the rest of the game after going down by twelve (49-37) with 6:12 to go.  However, over the next 3+ minutes the visitors went on a 13-5 run (3’s by Taylor Bajema and Jaren Yang during this segment) revving up the Gordon faithful and putting themselves in position to get a win trailing only 54-51 with 2:43 left in someone’s season.

The two teams combined to miss twenty free throws

The two teams combined to miss twenty free throws

The rest of the way?  Seven straight misses before Jake Hart notched a layup in the closing seconds.  On the other side, the Leopards (13-13) tallied a layup and four free throws.  Not much but on this night, and against Gordon, it was more than enough.

Tough loss especially when you consider the UNE upset.  If Gordon had won they would have been hosting UNE at the Bennett Center on Thursday night.  Instead Wentworth gets that opportunity.  The winner of that semi-finals matchup will be in the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship on Saturday against either ENC or Endicott.

Senior Nico Donato had plenty to do with the Wentworth victory.  The 6-1 guard collected twenty points getting ten in each half.

Hans Miersma closed out a remarkable career with a sixteen rebound effort.  Hans ended with over 1000 rebounds and points.

John-Michael Fragnoli (Senior Student Athlete) and Hans Miersma (Defensive Player of the Year) were honored by the Commonwealth Coast Conference

John-Michael Fragnoli (Senior Student Athlete) and Hans Miersma (Defensive Player of the Year) were honored by the Commonwealth Coast Conference

Hans was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year by the CCC for the third straight season.

Wentworth senior John-Michael Fragnoli was named the Senior Scholar Athlete by the CCC.

Jason Dempsey was selected to the CCC All-League 3rd team.

The Scots tied season highs in three’s made (7) and three’s attempted (23).

Gordon missed seven free throws (14-for-21) while the Leopards managed to win despite missing thirteen freebies (19-for-32).

Efficiency
Hans Miersma 27
Nico Donato 22 (20 points/7rebounds)
Cesar Fulcar 14 (13 points/8 assists)
John-Michael Fragnoli 13 (12 points/8 rebounds)
Jason Ganley 11 (7 points/6 rebounds)

Wentworth 69
Gordon 57

Julie and I expect to track down the four seniors and their families at graduation in May.

Boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jaren Yang (15 points) looks for an opening

Jaren Yang (15 points) looks for an opening

Nico Donato (#33) shoots a three

Nico Donato (#33) shoots a three

Taylor Bajema shoots from the corner

Taylor Bajema shoots from the corner

Ray Bessette and Hans Miersma (4 blocks)

Ray Bessette and Hans Miersma (4 blocks)

Jake Hart spins in

Jake Hart spins in

Hans gets news of his 5th foul

Hans gets news of his 5th foul

gowe A3 Jason exitsgowe A2 Craig exitsgowe A1 Taylor exits

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Jaylen Owens (27 points) dominates last minute in ENC’s 65-59 win over Gordon

 Jaylen Owens (shown covering Park Thomas) put up seven of his twenty-seven points in the final minute

Jaylen Owens (shown covering Park Thomas) put up seven of his twenty-seven points in the final minute

(Amesbury MA)  Jaylen Owens is not the opponent you want taking shots in the last minute.

The decorated junior (2012-13 CCC Rookie of the Year & 2013-2014 CCC First Team) canned a three, a two, and two free throws in the final minute and carried Eastern Nazarene to a 65-59 win over Gordon on Saturday afternoon in Quincy.

The Scots (11-14) end the regular season with two straight losses and now enter with Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament on Tuesday night (7PM) in Boston versus Wentworth.

Gordon played well enough to win but tortured the GC attendees and those of us viewing by unraveling completely in the final four minutes to earn a defeat.  The Scots led 57-54 at the entrance but the rest of the way made one of seven shots and had two turnovers.  Not a good time to put that collection of unfortunate offense together for sure.

Hans Miersma had a double/double against ENC

Hans Miersma had a double/double against ENC

Hans Miersma’s seventeen points and seventeen rebounds combined for yet another double/double for the 6-9 senior.

Efficiency
Hans Miersma 26
Alex Jarman 20 (10 rebounds/4 assists)
Jaylen Owens 19 (27 points/6 rebounds)
Corey Doran 11 (10 points)
Christian Lynch 10 (12 points)

ENC 74
Gordon 57

It was good to see Taylor Bajema back in action after missing five games.

ENC full-court pressure produced twenty-two Gordon turnovers.  The Lions (21-4) collected twenty-two points off of those turnovers.  Dribbling in traffic (more than one defender) and subpar passing and pass receiving are leading to too many wasted possessions.

Taylor Bajema returned to action after missing five games

Taylor Bajema returned to action after missing five games

The CCC tournament is always an exciting time.  Who among the Gordon faithful can forget the last two CCC finals?

You would almost have to think that the eventual winner this year would be from among; Nichols (20-5), Endicott (20-5), and ENC (21-4).  The other five teams in the tourney, including Gordon, do not even have winning records.  Nichols and Endicott split during the regular season while ENC’s four losses are to Nichols and Endicott.  The neighboring Gulls have won eleven straight and defeated Nichols the last time they played.  A final on Saturday at Nichols between those two would seem quite likely.

However, what should be doesn’t always turn out that way.  Nearly a year ago I was under the Gordon basket at Nichols with 10 ½ minutes left in the championship game.  The Scots were down by seventeen but miraculously went on to win by four and take the title.

Can Gordon win a second-straight championship?  The Scots are 1-5 against the teams (UNE, Nichols, Wentworth) in their bracket.

Gordon will win (Are you listening Jaren, Dylan, Dominic, Jake, and Craig?) if someone has a big game from the outside in each of the three games.  The turnovers will have to be cut back and the free throw shooting (7-for-14 vs. ENC) must get better.  It can be done!

Box from ENC game

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Roger Williams ends 8-game slide defeating Gordon 57-52

Ryan Palumbo (16 points) defended by Jake Hart

Ryan Palumbo (16 points) defended by Jake Hart

Trevor Fahmy (shooting) gave Roger Williams the lead for good

Trevor Fahmy (shooting) gave Roger Williams the lead for good

(Wenham MA) Those looking for a happy home ending to Gordon’s regular season left the Bennett Center disappointed as the Scots fell to revved up Roger Williams, 57-52, on Tuesday night.

The Hawks (8-16) hadn’t won in a month and had given up at least thirty points in the paint in each of their last two games.

I suspected that Gordon’s inside game might light up RW but on this evening the Scots had only eighteen points in the paint.

The biggest cause for the Gordon loss was poor shooting.  In the second half alone the Scots missed ten more shots than the Hawks did.

Jaren Yang dials long-distance late in the game

Jaren Yang dials long-distance late in the game

The score was tied, 45-45, with 5:19 remaining.  RW had played better but Gordon was still in a position to win their fourth straight.  But the rest of the way the Scots were 1-for-8 and the visitors escaped with a win.

I started to think that it might be Roger Williams’ night when the 45-45 tie was broken on a three by 6-8 Trevor Fahmy.  It was one of those clock-is-running-out attempts by someone who had shot only one other three all season.  Let’s just say that Trevor probably wasn’t one of the likely 3-point shooters on the floor.  But the shot went in and the RW bench reacted as if it was the game winner.  As it turned out, Trevor’s shot gave the Hawks the lead for good.

Trevor was also part of an RW interior defense that turned Hans Miersma (5 points) into a non-factor.  When Hans did get the ball there was no room for him to turn.  He did get to the basket one time with a head of steam but ran over Josh Syska in the process.

Hans Miersma called for a charge

Hans Miersma called for a charge

Shutting down’s Gordon’s interior opened up shots on the perimeter for the Scots.  Jake Hart had sixteen points in Gordon’s win over Roger Williams at Bristol (RI) but no one stepped up in a similar fashion this time around.

Gordon (11-13) was not impacted in the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings with the loss.  They stayed in 5th place and still will end up there after Saturday afternoon’s game at Eastern Nazarene no matter what happens.

With the win, the Hawks move into a tie with Western New England for 6th place.  Eight of the ten CCC teams make the post-season and Curry and Salve Regina have now been eliminated.

Richie Armand helped off the court

Richie Armand helped off the court

The saddest part of this game was seeing Richie Armand go down in pain with a knee injury in the first half.  Richie worked very hard rehabbing that knee in order to join the team in January.  The 5-10 junior had worked his way into the starting lineup with his terrific defense and decision making.

The best player on the court was Ryan Palumbo.  The 5-10 senior was the top scorer with sixteen points and, as usual, played with the energy you wish every player could have.

Efficiency
Ryan Palumbo 13
Josh McCourt 13 (11 points/5 rebounds)
Jason Dempsey 12 (11 points/7 rebounds)
Hans Miersma 11 (9 rebounds)
Sam Johnson 10 (7 points/4 rebounds)

Roger Williams 66
Gordon 49

Boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Alex Puzone sees an opening

Alex Puzone sees an opening

Josh McCourt (10 points) drives

Josh McCourt (10 points) drives

Hans Miersma tries for a block

Hans Miersma tries for a block

Ball heading in my direction

Ball heading in my direction

Alex Puzone (#34) puts up a shot

Alex Puzone (#34) puts up a shot

Jaren Yang defended by Ryan Palumbo

Jaren Yang defended by Ryan Palumbo

Steve Vampatella warms up

Steve Vampatella warms up

Dominic Paradis

Dominic Paradis

 

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Hans Miersma (22 points) leads Gordon past Salve Regina 67-50 for 3rd straight

Hans Miersma dropped twenty-points on Salve Regina

Hans Miersma dropped twenty-points on Salve Regina

(Amesbury MA) Gordon broke away from Salve Regina in the final 7+ minutes defeating the Seahawks, 67-50, on Saturday afternoon at Newport, RI.

The Scots (11-12) have two games left but they have already clinched fifth place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and will be facing Wentworth in the quarterfinal round later this month.

The loss today eliminates Salve Regina from the playoffs.  They have only two CCC victories, one of which was over Gordon the first time around at the Bennett Center.

Another dominating performance today by Hans Miersma.  The 6-9 senior collected twenty-two points on an impressive 9-for-11 shooting.  Hans’ season high in points is the twenty-three points he put up versus Endicott in December.

This was a two-point game (47-45) with 7:47 remaining.  The rest of the way?  All Gordon.  The Scots put a 16-2 run together and SR was cooked.

Jaren Yang (sixteen points and three steals)

Jaren Yang (sixteen points and three steals)

That the Seahawks were even close in this one was quite remarkable because they did not take good care of the ball.  Statistical proof?  SR had twenty-three turnovers and you know that Gordon didn’t press.  I had to go back to a December game in 2008 against Salem State to find an opponent committing as many TO’s as Salve did today.  SSU had twenty-four.

The Scots continue to be drawn to turnovers (twenty) with eleven of them coming in the second half when the Seahawks applied some full-court pressure.

Any time the Scots combine reduced miscues with a patient offense that settles for high-percentage shots they do very well.  That combo was what allowed GC to pull away from Salve in the last 7+ minutes and collect Win #11.

Freshman Jaren Yang had his best game of the season according the efficiency numbers.  Jaren ended up with a 16 in an afternoon of sixteen points and three steals.  His previous high was a 14 against Western New England.

Efficiency
Hans Miersma 27
Jaren Yang 16
Jason Dempsey 10 (11 points)

Gordon 72
Salve 53

Freshman Steven Vampatella appeared in his second game both on the road.  Will he be making his Bennett Center debut on Tuesday night against Roger Williams (7:30PM)?

The Scots finish at ENC next Saturday.  The CCC playoffs will start, weather willing, the next Tuesday.

To repeat as CCC champions will almost certainly  require Gordon to win three straight road games.  The Scots have eight of their eleven wins this season in away games.  Let’s be optimistic!

Boxscore

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Dylan Marshall drains four second-half 3’s to lead Gordon past UNE 59-51

Richie Armand (great defense) and Dylan Marshall (four 3-pointers in the second half) enjoy the final seconds of the win over UNE

Richie Armand (great defense) and Dylan Marshall (four 3-pointers in the second half) enjoy the final seconds of the win over UNE

Dylan Marshall caught fire from long range against UNE

Dylan Marshall caught fire from long range against UNE

(Wenham MA) Freshman Dylan Marshall connected four times from long range in the second half leading Gordon to a 59-51 win over UNE on Wednesday night at the Bennett Center.

Dylan’s biggest 3-pointer came with 1:22 left.  It delighted the GC faithful and gave the Scots breathing room 53-47 in the end game.

The Gordon defense was something special down the stretch.   Richie Armand limited high-scoring Devin Thompson (20 points) to two free throws over the final 4+ minutes and Hans Miersma (6 blocks) denied UNE drives.

The Nor’Easters were within a point (48-47) with 4 ½ minutes left but went on an 0-for-7 shooting drought over the next 4:14.

During that same segment Gordon took a 3-point (50-47) lead on a Dominic Paradis (11 points) jumper in the lane but then turned the ball over four straight possessions.

Richie Armand held Devin Thompson to seven second-half points

Richie Armand held Devin Thompson to seven second-half points

That 3-point lead was anything but safe as the clock ticked under two minutes but on this night Dylan Marshall’s final three with 1:22 left (assist Richie Armand) gave the Scots a six-point cushion that cold-shooting UNE couldn’t overcome.

The Nor’easters (6-16) employed a 2-3 zone that frustrated what GC usually does best; get the ball inside to Hans Miersma and Jason Dempsey.  With the inside neutralized other things had to kick in for the Scots (10-12) and on this night they did.

One thing that kicked in was turning UNE miscues (12) into points.  The Scots had a season-high (?) twenty-one points off of those TO’s with the remarkably quick Jaren Yang (15 points) in the middle of most of them.

No reason to suspect that Dylan (12 points) would go off like he did versus UNE.  The freshman was one for his last eight attempts from long range and his season high to this point had been six points against Rochester in November.  But Dylan was feeling it tonight in the second half and once he made a couple he was all-in for more attempts.  His last three truly helped separate GC from what would have been a very painful loss.

Dominic Paradis (11 points) finds daylight in the UNE zone

Dominic Paradis (11 points) finds daylight in the UNE zone

Gordon found openings in the UNE zone for a while in the second half as Dominic Paradis (11 points) found space below the foul line.

Efficiency
Hans Miersma 16 (12 rebounds/six blocks)
Dylan Marshall 15
Devin Thompson 14
Jaren Yang 12
Richie Armand 11 (5 assists/6 rebounds)

Gordon 72
UNE 48

The Scots were again without Taylor Bajema (thumb).  Jason Dempsey (knee) is back but not nearly at 100%.

Devin Thompson (20 points) looks for a pass

Devin Thompson (20 points) looks for a pass

Junior Devin Thompson went to nearby St. Mary’s (Lynn MA) and was recruited by Gordon.  I saw Devin lead the Spartans to the Massachusetts Division 4 state title in 2012 over Cathedral.  He had twenty-five points in the big game.

Richie Armand (Hempstead NY) seemed to have a New York history with UNE freshman Gavin Dibble (East Marion NY).

The win tonight clinches a spot for Gordon in the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament later this month.  The Scots (7-8) are alone in 5th place trailing 4th place Wentworth by two games with three games left.  Looks like GC will be traveling to Boston in the CCC quarterfinals.

Gordon visits last-place Salve Regina (Newport RI) on Saturday.  The Seahawks may be in last place but they defeated the Scots, 79-76, at the Bennett Center in January.

Hans Miersma had six blocks including this one

Hans Miersma had six blocks including this one

UNE had a win over Gordon in their first game, also in January.

The Nor’Easters have no seniors and one junior (Devin Thompson) on their roster.

The big CCC news tonight was Endicott dumping previously undefeated Nichols, 85-80, at Beverly.  Over 700 were on hand for that one.  Endicott has defeated ENC and Nichols this week.

Boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Craig McFarlane gets two

Craig McFarlane gets two

Jaren Yang (15 points) gets fouled on a fast break

Jaren Yang (15 points) gets fouled on a fast break

Sam Johnson tries to block the shot of Drew Coveney

Sam Johnson tries to block the shot of Drew Coveney

Devin Thompson (shooting) turned cold in the second half

Devin Thompson (shooting) turned cold in the second half

Richie Armand (#12) had five assists

Richie Armand (#12) had five assists

Dylan Marshall eyes the clock in the closing seconds

Dylan Marshall eyes the clock in the closing seconds

The UNE interior defense surrounds Hans Miersma

The UNE interior defense surrounds Hans Miersma

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Hans Miersma dominates in Gordon’s 68-57 win over Curry

Hans Miersma (20 points) starts the Gordon scoring with a dunk

Hans Miersma (20 points) starts the Gordon scoring with a dunk

Hans Miersma gets one of his nineteen rebounds.

Hans Miersma gets one of his nineteen rebounds.

(Wenham MA) Hans Miersma didn’t take any chances on Senior Recognition Day.

The 6-9 senior already had his 38th career double/double taken care of by halftime as he led Gordon to a 68-57 win over Curry on Sunday afternoon.

Hans finished with 20 points and 19 rebounds in a dominating performance.  He also tied a career mark in made free throws with eight.

Curry (4-17) had an early lead at 10-8 but a 10-1 GC run followed, including two Sam Johnson layups, that put the Scots (9-12) in front for good.

Gordon would push their advantage to double figures and led at the half, 33-24.  Hans had three blocks in the final thirty-four seconds.

Antonio Jones (18 points) looks for an opening

Antonio Jones (18 points) looks for an opening

In a familiar pattern, the Scots looked very strong for part of the second half but then saw an opponent close on them.  Antonio Jones (18 points) dropped thirteen of those points in the second half and had the Colonels within six (63-57) with 1:45 left.  A loss on Seniors’ Day to the last-place team in the Commonwealth Coast Conference was averted by clutch shots in the end game.  Curry missed two 3’s while Gordon collected two free throws (Hans) and a run-down-the-clock three by Craig McFarlane to close the game on a happy note.

Plenty of returning players on hand for the Gordon Alumni game in the morning.

With the win the Scots broke an ugly string of four straight losses at the Bennett Center.  In a 9-12 season (so far) the 2-7 record at home probably tops the unexpected list for the 2014-15 season.  Gordon has two more chances (UNE and Roger Williams) to improve the home slate.

James Pina (12 points) drives baseline

James Pina (12 points) drives baseline

The win over Curry puts GC in a tie with Western New England for fifth place in the CCC.  The Scots hold the tie-breaker over Western New England and would face 4th place Wentworth at Wentworth if the CCC playoffs started this week.  However, there are four CCC games left.

Jason Dempsey was back after missing four games with a knee problem.

Taylor Bajema has a cast on the thumb he badly injured at the end of the Western New England game four days ago.  He could be back playing before the season is over.

Jaren Yang had a big second half making three 3’s.  With his quickness and dribbling skills he is able to create his own scoring opportunities.

Craig McFarlane (9 points) defends Danny Brooks

Craig McFarlane (9 points) defends Danny Brooks

Nice event after the game honoring GC’s four seniors (Craig McFarlane, Taylor Bajema, Hans Miersma, Jason Dempsey).

Efficiency
Hans Miersma 39 (he also had a 39 vs. Endicott)
James Pina 12 (12 points)
Jason Dempsey 10 (8 points/6 rebounds)
Sam Johnson 10 (9 points/5 rebounds)

Gordon 85
Curry 56

Boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)cugo A17 Keith Krass

Dominic Paradis and Paul Preziosi

Dominic Paradis and Paul Preziosi

Jaren Yang tries to save

Jaren Yang tries to save

Jake Hart breaks in

Jake Hart breaks in

Danny Brooks dunks

Danny Brooks dunks

Hans Miersma gets one of his six blocks

Hans Miersma gets one of his six blocks

Jaren Yang defended by Jordan Vieira

Jaren Yang defended by Jordan Vieira

Blasts from the past

Blasts from the past

cugo A13 Hans familycugo A14 Taylors familycugo A15 Jasons familycugo A16 craigs family

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Filed under 2014-15 Gordon College men's basketball, Curry