By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – “Nobody was more frustrated with his shooting than he was,” reported Gordon Coach Mike Schauer. “It was just a matter of time.”
That formerly frustrated shooter was Mike Herr (sophomore-Lampeter PA) and what a nice game he had as Gordon dispatched Wentworth 77-54 Thursday night at the Bennett Center. He poured in 20 points and, what’s important to note is that he shot a sizzling 8-for-12 to get those points.
“Mike was in here about 3:30 this afternoon shooting shots and he’s been doing that for quite a while,” said Coach Schauer. “The only thing I ever did well in basketball was shoot the ball and you have stretches like he’s had. It isn’t like you forgot how to shoot. You just kind of hit a slump.”
And then there was the, “did-I-just-see-what-I-thought-saw,” moment. If you were there you know the play I’m writing about. With about 7 ½ minutes left Mike had the ball and was floating along the 3-point line in front of the Gordon bench. I’m prepared to see another feathery long one when all of a sudden he slashes down the lane and records a thunderous dunk! That brought the house down and there were even reports, unconfirmed, that the slam had Coach Schauer laughing on the bench.
“I’d seen him dunk in high school and he does it in practice,” added Coach Schauer. “The emphatic dunk at the end was nice but the play that made me think he’d found his rhythm was when he dribbled between his legs and stepped back and made a shot over (Carmino) DeMercurio (6’6”-senior) in the second half.”
The Scots are now 15-9 for all games and 9-6 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. They’ve won three straight and close out the regular season Saturday in Milton (MA) against Curry. Gordon will finish 3rd in the CCC North no matter what happens on Saturday and will be on the road against either Salve Regina, Roger Williams, or Curry when the CCC Playoffs start next Tuesday.
For Wentworth the season ends with a 9-game losing streak. They finish the season at 6-18 with a 4-12 record in the CCC.
What interested me was that if Wentworth had beaten Gordon they still had a chance to finish 4th in the CCC North. How? Because New England College lost to UNE this evening and a Wentworth win would have forced NEC to win at Salve Regina on Saturday to get that 4th spot. Not an easy task!
The Leopards, however, had little chance in this one. In the same fashion as the previous meeting in January (65-50 Scot victory) Gordon started fast built up a comfortable lead and bench-clearing became the order of the day.
By the time the Leopards had five points (12:20) the Scots already had 16. Wentworth narrowed things to 18-10 when Frankie Hall (junior-Boston MA) converted a rebound two minutes later. And they were still keeping the home team in sight with the score at 24-16 with 6 ½ left in the half.
But then Scott Allenby (senior-Proctor VT) picked a Leopard pocket (he had 4 steals in the game) and converted one of the resulting foul shots. The next three minutes the Scots were able to put this one out of reach with their early season forte – the long one.
Wentworth started the game last in the CCC in defending the 3-point shot and unfortunately, for them, they fell victim to the long shot once again. The next 12 Gordon points were from deep and three of those were from Mark Beebe (freshman-Clive IA).
“I want to point out the contribution of Mark Beebe in this one,” said Coach Schauer afterwards. “In the first half when this game was still somewhat competitive he made three big shots.” This young man is instant offense.
Those long shots put Gordon ahead 37-20 with 2 ½ remaining in the half. The score at halftime was 41-25.
Early in the second half the Scots ran eight straight as Jerry Logan (sophomore-Marietta GA) and Mike Herr connected from long range and Aaron Vogelzang (junior-Jericho VT) made a backdoor cut and was sent in alone for a lay-up after a nice pass from Justin Kaufman (freshman-Redding CT). This game was history with Gordon now in front 51-27 with 16:45 remaining.
The lead would grow to 75-43 (5 ½ left) on a couple of free throws from Nick Marino (freshman-Wellington FL) and instead of chanting, “It’s all over,” the crowd went with, “Jesse, Jesse.” And sure enough, we did get to see Jesse Freedman (freshman-Mt.Kisco NY).
That backdoor cut involving Aaron Vogelzang and Justin Kaufman worked twice in the second half. With so many CCC team overplaying the 3-point shot you’d think that play would be successful a few times in every game.
Wentworth got a dunk from Carmino DeMercurio on an inbounds play. Later the Leopard senior was called for goaltending one of Jon Marstaller’s (freshman-Naples Me) shots.
Jon picked up another double/double with 11 rebounds and 17 points. He’s had a bunch of them. He’s a 6’6” player who has a fall away shot that he uses in close to keep his shot from getting blocked. He also can make a three if his defender sags off.
Sherrard Prezzie-Blue (freshman-Norwalk CT) collected 15 but six of them came late. He was the recipient of the Jerry Logan shadow defense. “Jerry’s such a warrior,” said Coach Schauer. “People don’t realize how hard he has to work to defend the other team’s best player every night. And he does it every night and does a good job of it.”
Pete Hassler (Westford VT) showed a nifty slash-and-finger-roll late in the contest.
It was a night of seeing seniors in home action for the last time. Three key performers on the women’s team bowed out and of course it was the end for #21 Scott Allenby. I’ll miss a couple of other seniors, as well, Rebecca Bing and Emily Sydow. Those last two don’t play but the stats they’ve faithfully produced over the past four years have been prompt and accurate. And of course Emily has turned heads for years with her rendition of the National Anthem. Who will replace them????