By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) Gordon started its Commonwealth Coast Conference season off on the right foot with a, 79-62, win over Wentworth Institute at the Bennett Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Scots, now 5-0, travel to Henniker (NH) to face New England College at 7:30 on Tuesday night.
The only lead the visiting Leopards had was an early 3-2 one. “I thought we did a great job of competing for the full 40 minutes against a conference opponent that I knew would require that,” said Gordon Coach Mike Schauer afterwards.
Wentworth, though undersized, never backed down. An 11-point Gordon lead in the first half (31-20) was cut to four (35-31)while in the second half Gordon surged ahead (55-40) only to have the Leopards go on a 10-2 run and close to, 57-50, with nine minutes left.
It isn’t often that a specific basket is clearly recalled but with the score 57-50 the next one was in this game. It was a Tim DeLuca (6’2” – sophomore) three from in front of the Gordon bench. Why was that basket so important? Not only did it stop the Leopard run but it sent the Scots off on a 12-point run over the next three minutes that clinched this one for the home team.
“We had a miscommunication on the play they ran down low for (Tim) DeLuca,” lamented Wentworth Coach Tom Devitt afterwards. “That basket was a back-breaker.”
Coach Schauer was equally impressed. “The biggest basket of the game was Tim’s three. The game started to feel like it was teetering out of our control before he hit that big perimeter shot.”
The big run of points put Gordon ahead comfortably (69-50) and the final six minutes saw the Scots use the clock on every possession and come away with a, 79-62 win.
The eye-catching stat was the one that had Gordon shooting 83.3% (20-24) in the second half. Two of those misses were in the last minute. We’re following a team with plenty of offensive weapons.
“There really isn’t a go-to guy on the team,” said Coach Schauer. “We have a lot of guys who can score. It makes it tough to prepare for us because who do you really try and take away?”
Tim DeLuca’s second half basket was big but the overall play of Jerry Logan (6’1” – senior) also impressed both coaches.
“Jerry Logan is very underrated,” said Coach Devitt. “He is clearly one of the best defenders in the CCC and he’s very efficient with his offense. He did a nice job on Sherrad Prezzie-Blue.” Prezzie-Blue was defended into a 3-for-10, 13 point afternoon by Jerry and Justin Kaufman.
“Jerry was tremendous,” added Coach Schauer. “He always defends the other team’s best player and because he does that so well he doesn’t get much rest. In this game Justin (Kaufman) got into foul trouble and for Jerry that meant not only defending the other team’s best player but also handling the ball on offense more than usual.”
Jerry ended up with 16 points attacking the basket repeatedly.
Coach Devitt wasn’t quite sure of what to expect from Gordon. “Their first four opponents had a combined record of 8-16 so they hadn’t really been tested. I don’t know if we were much of a test in this one. They certainly showed the ability to persevere, make shots and defend in this game.”
“Gordon had my first-place vote in the CCC preseason coaches’ poll. They needed to find quality to replace players like (Aaron) Vogelzang and it looks like (Aaron) Trigg might do it.”
Aaron Trigg (6’2” freshman) had his first (of many?) double figure (12 points) game. He has an outside shot but has learned quickly that high-percentage shots can be found closer to the basket.
I noticed Justin Kaufman (5’11” junior) at the top of the CCC assist/turnover standings. Those stats were after three games. After five games (adding 4 against both Mitchell & Wentworth with zero turnovers) he’s at 22/3. Believe me, those are gaudy numbers!
“Justin controls the game at a level that few can do,” explained Coach Schauer. “When he’s not out there we don’t have that settled feeling.”
Wentworth (2-3) had four players score double figures led by CCC Honorable Mention last year Sherrad Prezzie-Blue. They visit Colby-Sawyer next Tuesday night.
The player that I remember from last year’s Wentworth team was Weonard Bynes. This freshman went crazy in the second game in Boston pouring in 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Weonard is currently ineligible but will be around for the second half of the season. Opponents beware!
For the second straight year the Gordon crowd had fun with good-natured Leopard Chase Meyers. They cheered his every move during half-time warm-ups. Last year he got into the game but not this time. Maybe next year………… Coach Schauer: ”We’ve struggled a bit being a targeted team but now I think we’re embracing it and just playing basketball…………… The Wentworth fans in the crowd were easily identifiable after the Leopards got called for a shaky charging call in the second half……………… Gordon started off last year 5-0 and then went on a 3-game losing streak. Reminded of that fact Coach Schauer responded, “That could happen because we play some good teams ahead.”…………… Jon Marstaller (6’5” junior) showed a nice crossover dribble to get from the corner in for a lay-up in the first half………… The play I enjoyed the most was an out-of-bounds play where a lob to Mike Herr (6’5” senior) was faked and Mike instead cut back to the basket for a lay-up……………… No one asked but Ipswich High School, a place that I am familiar with, won a Super Bowl game today.