By Peter McClelland
(Beverly) – In December Gordon took Endicott to the final two minutes before losing 73-70. This time Gordon could only hang around until about the 9-minute mark (down 49-46) before Endicott ran off eight unanswered points on their way to a 67-52 victory in Commonwealth Coast Conference action on Tuesday night.
And what an atmosphere. You almost wonder if the students are required to attend because they sure do turn out. With cheerleaders and a dance squad and loud music you have a setting that epitomizes home court advantage.
“If you can hold them to 67 on their home court you would figure you have a chance to win,” explained Gordon Coach Mike Schauer after. “However, we just didn’t make enough plays.”
Credit the Endicott defense. “We tried to take away the three,” said Gull Coach Mike Plansky. “We like to think that it’ll be hard for them to beat us with 2-pointers.” The shooting accuracy that steered Gordon to five straight wins coming in was among the missing.
“We had some good looks but didn’t make them,” added Coach Schauer. “I think fatigue was a factor but beyond that Endicott is a pretty good team.”
It was unfortunate for the Scots that Nemanja Marinkovic (sophomore-Belgrade Serbia) still has their number. At least his points were down from the 20’s he had in the previous three games to 16. However, he had 10 rebounds and 6 assists. The Gulls are very effective inside thanks to him. You never saw a team turn down 5-footers for lay-ups like this team does and Marinkovic is the catalyst.
The star for the winners, in my opinion, was Matt George (junior-Dover NH). When was the last time a forward had 10 assists? On defense he had a hand in squeezing the CCC’s top scorer (Mike Herr – sophomore Lampeter PA) into a subpart 5-for-16 night. Oh, and he had 8 steals doing it.
The Scots toasted their last three opponents in the first half and played even the rest of the way for double-digit wins. In this one they jumped out 9-3 as Gordon’s top three scorers (Jon Marstaller-freshman Naples ME, Mike Herr, and Jerry Logan-sophomore Marietta GA) contributed. The Gulls responded with seven straight as they weren’t about to let the visitors build up any sort of lead. The Scots, however, did regain the lead and were up 15-13 after Jerry Logan sank a free throw with 12:12 to go until halftime.
At this point Endicott put a 15-2 spurt onto Gordon over the seven minutes. There was nary a three in the mix just super inside offense featuring unselfish play. James Levesque (senior-Dorchester MA) came off the Gull bench to spark this segment with 6 points. “I think our bench did a nice job of wearing them down,” said Coach Plansky. So the Gulls had a 28-17 cushion before Mike Herr drained a three.
The Gulls led 38-28 at halftime. They had shot 50% (16-for-32) and only turned the ball over an astounding 3 times.
Those numbers would slide a bit south in the second half especially when Gordon switched to a zone. “We practiced against a zone defense but for a while we just couldn’t make shots,” explained Coach Plansky. “It was a great adjustment by Mike (Schauer).”
That 10-point lead dropped to 49-46 thanks to free throws from Aaron Vogelzang (junior-Jericho VT), a drive by Jerry Logan and a jumper by Jon Marstaller. There was over 9 minutes left. This was anyone’s ballgame.
But just as quickly as that lead had shrunk the Gulls put it back into the comfort zone with a run of eight straight. First it was Nemanja Marinkovic spinning for a lay-up. Then the zone killers (Zach Ellis-junior Westford MA) & Josh Oxton-senior Center Harbor NH) drilled threes and put the Gulls in front 57-46 with 7:42 remaining. Gordon did not mount a challenge the rest of the way.
“You just can’t expect to win when beyond our top three scorers we shot just 3-for-17,” said Coach Schauer. And it certainly didn’t help when two of the top scorers (Jon Marstaller & Mike Herr) had only five points between them in the second half.
The win puts Endicott at 11-5 overall and 7-1 in the CCC. They have New England College next.
Gordon falls to 11-7 and 5-4 in the CCC. They face Anna Maria at the Bennett Center on Thursday night.
After watching Matt George jump over the scorer’s table, where I could have been sitting, I believe more than ever that the back of a CCC gymnasium is the best viewing spot.
There were folks there wearing kilts and painted green. I never gathered the connection to Gulls. I’ve been around long enough to remember when paint was only applied to houses.
Keith Krass (freshman-Westlake IL) was dressed but didn’t play. Nick Marino (freshman-Wellington FL) was dressed and didn’t make the program.
Endicott’s only CCC loss is to undefeated Colby-Sawyer. Gordon plays Colby-Sawyer on Saturday at home. “Gordon is very tough at home and could beat Colby-Sawyer,” added Coach Plansky hopefully. “They could do us a huge favor. I think we’d send a dinner over to Mike and take his kids out if they win!”
Justin Kaufman (freshman-Redding CT) did a nice job handling Endicott’s full-court pressure.