By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) Good news for Gordon fans on two fronts.
Tuesday night at the Bennett Center the Scots cruised past Anna Maria, 74-52, while Endicott was upset in New Hampshire by New England College, 82-70.
Put those two results together and you get Gordon getting the top seed in the Commonwealth Coast Conference playoffs no matter what happens on the last game of the regular season on Saturday afternoon against the University of New England.
The playoffs start next Tuesday for Gordon at 7PM at the Bennett Center. The opponent will be either Salve Regina or Nichols.
You had to wonder what kind of a performance the Scots would come up with after the memorable loss at Endicott Tuesday night. “I thought our guys handled the Tuesday situation very well in fact better than I did,” explained Gordon Coach Mike Schauer after the Anna Maria win. “Players were upbeat, excited, and looking forward to playing again. I was really proud of them for those reasons.”
The visiting Amcats had a 6-5 lead less than four minutes into the game but thereafter the Scots had far too many weapons for this to be a close game for long.
“I was happy with our effort,” said Anna Maria Coach Shawn Conrad afterwards. “We’re just not as savvy as Gordon.”
The Amcats hit a cold spell and 3 ½ minutes later Gordon had run off eight straight and led 25-13. After a three by senior Bryan Porcaro Anna Maria went cold again for three minutes and Gordon served up ten unanswered points to increase their advantage to 35-16 with three minutes to go in the first half. The Scots had a 37-24 halftime lead.
That lead didn’t seem insurmountable but when you factor in that in the first half Mike Herr (Lampeter,PA) played only three minutes (foul trouble) and Jon Marstaller (Naples,ME)shot 0-for-7 you had a good feeling about the second half.
“Any time Jon Marstaller goes 0-7, and I don’t think he’s ever done that in a half before, and Mike Herr plays just three minutes you’d normally get a little worried,” said Coach Schauer. “Mike Schnackenberg (South Portland,ME), however, was great in the first half and he became our all-conference caliber forward during that half.”
The 6’6” junior contributed 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in probably the best half he’s played at Gordon.
Anna Maria (7-17) hung around for a good part of the second half as both teams collected 20 points and with 9:30 left in the game the score was, 57-44.
“We stayed in the game because we played hard,” explained Coach Conrad. “Gordon, though, is very cerebral. They make the extra pass and cut when needed. They beat us way too many times off the dribble.”
Mike Herr started the surge that put this one out of reach by connecting on a couple of 3’s. The Amcats answered with an old-fashioned 3-point play from Jim Daigneault and a free throw from Quincy Nunnally. The Scots followed with yet another layup by Mike Schnackenberg and a converted offensive rebound by Jon Marstaller. Justin Kaufman (Redding,CT) and Mike Schnackenberg than added the frosting to the cake with their lob-and-layin routine. This put Gordon in control, 69-48, with 5 ½ minutes remaining.
The rest of the way things got very ragged. The Amcats couldn’t score during the last 4 minutes and Gordon had only a Keith Krass (Beach Park,Il) layup during the same time period. The final score was 74-52.
Gordon moves to 17-7 overall and 12-3 in the CCC.
Although the Endicott loss takes some of the suspense off of Saturday’s game with UNE it shouldn’t take away from the pregame activities in which the Gordon careers of Jerry Logan (Marietta,GA) and Mike Herr will be celebrated. “They were the first recruits that brought us to the sort of opportunity we now have,” said Coach Schauer.
Freshman Ben Gaskill (Columbus,OH) had his longest minutes (16) of the season and except for being victimized on a backdoor cut showed plenty of promise. At 6’9” he has the size to alter opposing team’s inside options. Maybe his performance was helped by having family in attendance at the Bennett Center.
Jon Marstaller was presented with a basketball before the game commemorating his 1000th point. As Mike Herr did earlier this season, he immediately handed the ball over to family in the crowd.
Aaron Trigg’s father saw another game after his flight out on Wednesday was cancelled. Why would anyone want to be in Florida and miss out on a nice brisk walk from the chapel parking lot to the Bennett Center? ……………Freshman Tim McDonnell (Jericho,VT) picked up three rebounds and a couple of floor burns in short minutes…………Obviously the Blue Sea was exhausted from the Endicott game. Their numbers were down and their noise level was hardly discernable. They had better be rested come Tuesday night…………”I didn’t tell the team much afterwards. If I had to tell them a whole lot now they’re missing the equation.” – Coach Schauer…………It looks as if Gordon will be in a playoff bracket with Wentworth, Roger Williams, and either Nichols or Salve Regina. I’d love to be writing about a semi-final win a week from now.