By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – Part of a coach’s job is motivating his players. “I really challenged our seniors because of how poorly they had played (losses to Colby-Sawyer and Endicott as well as a near-loss to ENC) the last week or so,” explained Gordon coach Mike Schauer. And what a response he got!
Led by seniors Scott Beebe (28 points/10 rebounds) and Joe Witherspoon (13 points/12 rebounds) Gordon made it look easy defeating visiting Anna Maria, 73-50, in Commonwealth Coast Conference action at the Bennett Center on Thursday evening.
The Scots are now 10-3 in the CCC and 17-5 overall. The loss puts Anna Maria at 6-6 in CCC play and 11-10 for the season.
Once Gordon got away from their usual man-to-man defense early in the first half and switched to a zone the game headed quickly downhill for the Amcats. “That zone affected us,” said Amcat coach Dave Shea, “but we still had plenty of shots. In the first half most of the shots were from inside the arc by both teams. We just didn’t convert inside.”
“We had to have that zone,” said coach Schauer. “Matt Brennan is probably the best offensive player in our league and we showed early that we couldn’t defend him in a man defense.”
When Brennan drilled a three 8 ½ minutes into the half the visitors were on top, 12-10, and looking to pull the upset. However, over the next 7 ½ minutes Anna Maria became nearly as cold as it was outside the Bennett Center.
While the Amcats missed 11 of their next 12 shots and committed several turnovers Gordon put together a stretch of super offense and ran off a, 22-2, spurt. The Amcat’s 2-point lead became a, 33-14, deficit with four minutes left in the half and the visitors never recovered. Alex Yeats converted a rebound and nailed a short jumper while Scott Beebe added three long ones to spark this surge.
Gordon’s lead was cut to, 37-22, when Matt O’Malley sank a half-court buzzer-beater.
“I told our kids at halftime that we were still in this one,” said coach Shea. “We were getting plenty of shots and it was just a matter of whether we could heat up or not.”
Unfortunately, for Anna Maria their shooting did not improve (1 for 13 from 3-point range) and the issue became the margin of victory not who the victor would be. The Amcats did narrow things a bit to, 58-44, with nine minutes left but three more three’s by Scott Beebe and an Elliott Blackstone lay-up sent Gordon comfortably ahead, 69-44, and the suspense was over.
Matt Brennan and Sean Walsh each scored 14 for Anna Maria. Brennan added 12 rebounds.
Josh Sylvester (12) and Elliott Blackstone (10) reached double figures for the Scots.
The next Gordon game is Saturday in Boston against Wentworth. The Scots drubbed Wentworth at home by 20 points earlier in the season.