By Peter McClelland
(Paxton) – Make that eleven wins in a row now with a big test on the road Saturday against Colby-Sawyer.
That’s 16-3 overall with a nice 9-1 record in the conference. However, please don’t expect Colby-Sawyer to be impressed with any of that information. We’ve never beaten them in New London. A win on the road against Colby-Sawyer would equal the significance, in my opinion, of the win against Endicott on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, at Paxton Gordon beat Anna Maria like a drum, 90-51, on Thursday night to stay tied at the top in the Commonwealth Coast Conference North with Endicott.
Anna Maria has now lost 13 straight in the CCC and after what I saw in this game there’s no way they win another one this season! Colby-Sawyer scored 116 against them and I thought, looking at the final score, that maybe they had run up the score. Not so. Gordon probably could have put up the same number of points if they had been more accurate in the first half.
The Amcats came out in a zone and stayed with that thing for the duration. It certainly wasn’t very effective. A few passes against it turned up an open shot. In fact, open shots were so easily available that before long the team seemed to be turning them down for wide open shots. You knew that sooner or later that sort of porous defense would start to give up some serious points. And it did.
“We don’t see a lot of zones because we shoot the ball so well,” said Gordon Coach Mike Schauer afterwards. “It took us a while to settle down and shoot.” Sometimes the hardest shot is the one that you’re wide open on.
Miraculously, the Amcats actually had a 4-2 lead in the first two minutes after Adam O’Malley (6’5” senior) connected on a jump shot. But you knew with their defense, or lack of same, that they wouldn’t be in front for long.
Gordon ran seven straight to go ahead, 9-4. A couple of minutes later they ran another seven to make it, 19-8. At this point Jerry Logan (6’ junior Marietta GA) entered the game. He had hurt his knee at UNE on January 14th and missed six games. He was wearing an ominous-looking, black brace to protect that knee. I wouldn’t say he was at full-speed but it didn’t keep him from mixing it up on defense and scoring a couple of baskets. Welcome back!
Another eight straight thanks to long range shots from Justin Kaufman (5’11” sophomore Redding CT) and Tim DeLuca (6’2” freshman Gray ME) and the lead grew to, 27-10, with 5 ½ left. A well-designed play gave Justin an open look (bad idea) at a 3 which connected and the Scots had a 37-17 advantage at the half.
“What I was most pleased with was the start of the second half when we took the game and just ended it,” said Coach Schauer. And I guess if the opposition is just going to sag in close to the basket you just have to take and make what’s given on the outside. John Beebe (6’1” senior Clive IA), Justin, and Aaron Vogelzang (6’4” senior Jericho VT) dialed in from deep on a spurt that sent the Scots out of sight, 50-19.
Reserves started to filter in early and a number of them had their longest minutes of the season. Two things on the box score were especially nice to see – everybody scored and the most playing time anyone had was 20.
“After the long minutes some of the starters got against Endicott it was nice to limit their minutes,” said Coach Schauer. Next opponent Colby-Sawyer hasn’t played since Tuesday and will be at home as well. That extra rest the Gordon starters got in this game may pay off on Saturday.
Gordon had 26 assists in this game. Their previous high was 19. Keith Krass (6’2” sophomore Beach Park ILL) handed out six of them against the Amcats.
The Scots reached a record low for the season in turnovers with seven. There was only one from among the non-starters. This was with long minutes for most of them. Usually, in garbage time the play gets ragged but that’s not what I saw from the Gordon bench against Anna Maria.
Justin Kaufman topped all scorers with 18 points and forced the Amcats point guard into most of his 6 turnovers. Tim DeLuca added 12 and keeps showing more and more of what he’s capable of on offense.
That Fuller Gymnasium was easily the hottest gym I have ever (?) been in. You worked up a lather just breathing!……………..I try to imagine how bad Anna Maria’s man-to-man defense must be if they wouldn’t give it a try at least somewhere in a blowout game………………It was quite a change to go from the atmosphere of the Endicott game to a place where no one, and I mean no one, cheered when the home team was introduced…………………Quite a few Gordon players hit shots from the wing in front of the Gordon bench in the second half………………..Enjoy this winning season because it hasn’t always been that way with Gordon basketball. During the five seasons from 1976-1981 your Scots were 16-100 and there was a 9-16 season in there!