By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – Nothing like a hot rivalry to heat up a very cold evening. Driven on by a large, vocal home crowd, Gordon ran away from neighbor Endicott in the second half and won, 68-51, to remain undefeated (5-0) in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and 11-2 overall. The game was played on Tuesday evening at the Bennett Center.
Endicott is now 3-1 in the CCC and 5-6 overall.
“We haven’t really seen a team like theirs before,” explained Endicott coach Mike Plansky afterwards. “They can put five guys out there who can all shoot it.”
The first half gave no indication that Gordon would win this one by a large margin. “I think Endicott plays unbelievably hard,” said Gordon coach Mike Schauer. “They also have a lot of kids who play very well. Credit the crowd for giving us the needed lift.”
In the first half the Scots ran off seven straight, thanks to the inside game of Josh Sylvester and three foul shots by Ryan Smith, to get ahead, 27-21, but Endicott recovered. A well-run play gave Jeremy Currier an open shot at the buzzer and the Gulls trailed just, 28-26, at halftime.
The second half started innocently enough but unfortunately, for the visitors, the Scots suddenly began to put on a shooting clinic (13 straight points) while the Gulls went into a 4 ½ minute drought. Before you knew it that, 30-27, Gordon lead had swelled to, 43-27, and Endicott didn’t have the weapons to make a comeback. In fact, Gordon boosted their margin to, 66-42, later on.
“We’re capable of hitting a couple of three’s in a minute and all of a sudden a competitive game seems lopsided,” explained coach Schauer.
Missing from Gordon’s long-range game was top scorer Scott Beebe who struggled with a 2 for 13 evening, including two surprising air balls. However, his 5 assists and excellent defense on Gull high scorer, Jeremy Currier, contributed to the Gordon victory.
“We tried to force the ball inside too much in the second half, “explained coach Plansky. “You can’t overdo that against a good team. We’d come away with nothing and then their shooters went crazy.” When Endicott got the ball inside James Levesque (7/12 – 14 points) could finish.
Hayes Murray paced Gordon with 19 points, his biggest output of the season. His hustling style and fall-away three in the second half were greatly appreciated by what seemed to be the biggest crowd of the season.
Coach Schauer raved about Josh Sylvester afterwards. “He had another double/double (16 points/11 rebounds) and covered their best post player all game. He was just sensational.”
The Scots travel to distant Johnson State on Thursday for a non-league game. Beyond that is an away game at Roger Williams on Saturday and back home against CCC powerhouse Colby-Sawyer next Tuesday.