By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – Let the anticipation begin!
The Scots streaked past Wentworth Institute, 78-50, at the Bennett Center on Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Coast Conference action.
Gordon now 14-3 has nine straight wins and now faces a rematch with Endicott at the Bennett Center on Tuesday night. That game will give the Gordon team a chance to answer the annual question: Have you moved up to the level of the elite teams (Endicott/Colby-Sawyer) of the CCC? The Scots have taken down Colby-Sawyer during this win streak and that leaves just Endicott. Our neighbors are undefeated in the CCC while our lone CCC loss was over at Beverly Farms in December. Their fans will be there Tuesday chanting and taunting. It would take big turnout on the Gordon side to drown them out. And yes, it sure would help if the team plays the way it’s been playing lately!
I know, the Endicott game is only one of the eight that are left and the other CCC games left on the schedule are equally important from a win/loss standpoint but a win over Endicott would be as sweet as the recent weather has been in these parts.
Okay, this is supposed to be about the Wentworth game which in and of itself was a pretty good take if you were a Gordon partisan. This game sure looks like a blowout in the box score but those on hand know that for 15 minutes of the first half this one was a grinder. In fact, when Bryan Gaine (6’2” junior) put back a rebound 15 minutes in the visiting Leopards led, 22-20.
What happened over the next eight minutes of playing time is hard to explain so let’s look at the stats. The Scots ran off an amazing 18 unanswered points before two Todd Doyle (6’ freshman) free throws. And then the Scots ran off nine more unanswered points into the second half. When the onslaught was over a 22-20 close one had turned into a 47-24 rout.
Coach Schauer struggled to explain the surge too. “It really got out of hand fast. Aaron had a couple of steals and we hit a few shots and it just snowballed from there. We certainly weren’t 17 points better than them for most of the half.”
Wentworth Coach Tom Devitt quickly sensed that the game was getting away and used three timeouts in quick succession during the Gordon rush but in this game there was just no way alter the momentum.
Later in the second half the Scots took off on an 18-2 run and increased their margin to 69-30 with 6 ½ left. That left time for both coaches to clear their benches.
Wentworth’s lack of an inside presence opened the doors for a big scoring game from Jon Marstaller (6’5” sophomore Naples ME). The Scots didn’t hesitate to get the ball inside to him and he didn’t disappoint with 20 points.
If I’m giving out the stars then Justin Kaufman (5’11” sophomore Redding CT) gets the Number One star. Why? Forget the points (10) and the assists (8) although they’re important. It’s the job he did on Sherrard Prezzie-Blue (5’11” sophomore) that was a big factor in this game. Sherrard had torched Wentworth’s last opponent (UNE) for 25 points and has the quickness to get open without help. Justin forced him to play without the ball and stayed close when he did get it. He only had two points during the minutes Justin had him.
“When Jerry (Logan) got hurt I put up a list for the team of things we had to have in order to keep winning,” explained Coach Schauer. “One of them was that we had to have more offense from Justin and he has provided that – double figures in the last four games. He’s also becoming a great defender.”
The Gordon defense has been a thing of beauty during the nine-game run. Some of that effort doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet but in this game it did. 16 steals is the most since the first game and forcing 26 turnovers ain’t chopped liver either.
“We’ve played hard on defense all year,” said Coach Schauer. “Wentworth was a little better offensive team than the last two (New England College & Mount Ida) so I was more pleased with this effort.
As the season wears on Aaron Vogelzang (6’4” senior Jericho VT) has gone, in my opinion, from a terrific soccer player (1st team CCC) who happens to play basketball to a very talented player in both sports. He shot 6 for 7 for 12 points had 4 steals and was the leading rebounder in this game. He had a quiet 18 minutes with no points against Endicott last time.
John Beebe (6’1” senior Clive IA) had his highest point total (12) since an opening 13 against Framingham State. He drained two 3’s in the first-half run that put the game away. On one of them he appeared to consider every other possible option before launching the long one.
Rugged Frankie Hall (6’2” senior) was the lone bright spot for the Leopards with 14 points. On the other side he did have 5 of the 26 turnovers the team had.
Wentworth is now 9-9 overall including 5-5 in the CCC. They play Curry at home next Tuesday.
At times the Gordon defense was so good inside that 2 or 3 players could have been credited with blocks on one shot……………The standing Gordon cheering section has become so good that they have become a story themselves. They’ll have their hands full, I suspect, keeping up with Endicott’s fans on Tuesday night. In the Wentworth game they certainly made “Chase Meyers” day……………..Mike Herr (6’5” junior Lampeter PA) showed tremendous energy on defense but didn’t care for the lack of calls when he had the ball. No rebounds? That has to be a misprint!……………………..Is the idea behind the very loud music we’re subjected to before games to drive us out to the concession stands? What if we ate before we came to the game?……………A reader told me that she was unfamiliar with the term, “trey.” Be assured that it doesn’t refer to the item taken from the cafeteria and used to slide down the hill beside Frost Hall…………………………….Aaron scored on a nice backdoor cut…………….Pete Hassler (6’4” senior Westford VT) would like to have that breakaway lay-up back but he did make a nice pass to Tim DeLuca (6’2” freshman Gray ME) for a successful lay-up……………The Wentworth bench gave an unwelcome evaluation of the officiating.