By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – You can play ugly against the likes of Anna Maria and win, as the Scots did on Thursday night, but it’s not going to work against the likes of Colby-Sawyer (now 16-4 and 11-0 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference).
And even though the visiting Chargers earned high marks for ugliness too they still had enough down the stretch to dispatch Gordon, 61-49, at the Bennett Center on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
The loss drops the Scots to 12-8 for the season and 6-5 in the CCC. Thoughts of finishing ahead of either Colby-Sawyer or Endicott in the CCC North are over and in the last five games the thrust should be to solidify a hold on 3rd place. You’d like to think that the chances of doing that are good with the next four games (New England/Nichols/UNE/Wentworth) being against teams with losing records.
This was another game where the final score was very misleading. That 11-point spread at the end was the biggest lead the Chargers had the entire game. This was a 50-47 game with 4 ½ minutes left.
Unfortunately, Gordon had only Mike Herr’s (sophomore-Lampeter PA) two foul shots to show for those last 4 ½ minutes. Other than that we watched three turnovers, four missed three’s, and a 2-point miss. You couldn’t argue with Gordon Coach Mike Schauer when he said afterwards, “I don’t really know what to say. It was just very disappointing.”
While the Scots were careless and clanging the Chargers poured in 11 points. And it was the two best big men, in my opinion, in the CCC (Chris Condon-senior Reading MA & Andrew St.Clair-junior Pittsfield ME) who fashioned a two-man game which resulted in five of those points.
“We did a little high-low,” explained Colby-Sawyer Coach Bill Foti. “We called it out in mid-possession and Andrew and Chris executed it perfectly.” Andrew St.Clair was on the payoff end of the first one and then it was Chris’s turn on the second.
Those two successful plays were the highlights of a rather tough afternoon those two players put in. Chris Condon got saddled with fouls early and had just nine points. He lit Gordon up for 26 at New London earlier. And Andrew St.Clair’s numbers weren’t all that great (10 rebs/11pts) either. “They did a super job on Andrew (CCC Player-of-the-Year last year),” explained Coach Foti. “He was 4-for-15. He’s usually able to finish. They made it hard for him to get the ball and when he did get it he was surrounded by 2 or 3 guys.”
Gordon’s offense??? Where did it go? Those 49 points were the lowest they’ve had in a game all season. Colby-Sawyer plays excellent team defense, in fact; they’re the best in the CCC in that category. But on this afternoon there were shots available that just weren’t going down.
“They made some big plays, said Coach Schauer. “We didn’t.”
That 4-for-17 at home from 3-point land and that 36.2% shooting were totally uncharacteristic of the Scots. I’ll defend those numbers with the Fatigue Defense, also know as the Last-of-Seven-Games-in-14-days Defense and stay with that.
Gordon did get off to the lead (8-4) early as Jon Marstaller (freshman-Naples ME) followed a lay-up with a 3-pointer. They were still ahead 10-6 as Aaron Vogelzang (junior-Jericho VT) hit a jumper. Then the dreaded drought arrived. During the next 5 ½ minutes the Scots missed while the Chargers collected 10 points.
That drought gave the Chargers the lead and they wouldn’t give it back. The Scots did close to 30-26 at the half after Jon Marstaller converted a rebound at the last second of the half.
If you’re a Gordon partisan and you came back a little late after the half, believe me, you were spared! What we saw were two missed foul shots, two missed normal shots and five straight turnovers! Luckily during that five minute stretch the Chargers could only make one shot and that was Josh Carter (freshman-Salem NH) draining a three after one of Gordon’s turnovers.
Colby-Sawyer would build their lead to 41-34 and 46-39 with nine minutes left. Even though they were playing poorly and shooting worse the Scots still had the energy to make things interesting. Jerry Logan (sophomore-Marietta GA) sent Aaron Vogelzang in for a lay-up to narrow the lead to three (48-45) and the Scots were within three after Jon Marstaller’s lay-up with 4 ½ left.
But as stated earlier, those last 4 ½ minutes were a disaster and Colby-Sawyer prevailed.
James Thorpe (junior-Concord NH) led all scorers with 16. “James has had a big second semester for us,” said Coach Foti. “He gives us another 3-point (he made 2) shooter and he gives us another big body (He had 8 rebounds).”
Mike Herr made the shot of the night when he got the ball stuck up on top of the backboard. I’m sure he would have traded it in for at least one three.
Justin Kaufman (freshman-Redding CT) found out that his reverse spin move down the lane doesn’t always work. However, he does provide a high comfort level with his ability to bring the ball up.
Pete Hassler (junior-Westford VT) hit a cutting Scott Allenby (senior-Proctor VT) with a bounce pass that was a thing of beauty and resulted in a basket.
Just hoping, over the next five games, to see more production and minutes from the bench. There could be minutes available. Who will take advantage of the opportunity?
Colby-Sawyer is very much aware of Endicott. The Gulls have lost only once (49-47 at Colby-Sawyer). “Every game in the CCC is important,” said Coach Foti, “especially with the CCC North being the way it is. I don’t see Endicott getting too many losses. We want the home court in the CCC Playoffs. Last year we lost to Anna Maria on the last game of the season and it cost us the home court and, I think, an NCAA bid.”
Endicott hosts Colby-Sawyer on February 17th. Too bad we’re got a game that night (Wentworth). It would be a good take.
The next game for Gordon is on Thursday night up at Henniker (NH) against New England College. The Scots crushed the Pilgrims at home.
Colby-Sawyer’s next game is home versus Curry.