(Beverly) The big-time Endicott crowd started chanting, “Where’s your Bible?” with about 5 ½ minutes left in regulation. (I guess that passes for humor at a secular school.) But it does segue nicely into a Christian idea, namely prayer.
Believe me, the only way to describe Aaron Trigg’s winning basket was to call it a prayer. But it went in and was enough to hand the Scots a 67-66 win in overtime at frantic Endicott on Thursday night.
Maybe it was a coincidence, but Aaron’s 3-pointer was from the same corner that Jon Marstaller nailed his game-winner from last year. While Jon’s was a wide-open look, Aaron’s was anything but that. Clear look at the basket? No. Feet squared? No. But with time running out on the 35-second clock the shot had to be put up no matter how many shooting fundamentals were violated in the process.
Aaron’s shot gave the Scots a 3-point lead (65-62) with 20 seconds left. Graham Whitelaw answered with a jumper to make it 65-64. After an Endicott timeout, Timmy MacDonnell successfully inbounded the ball to Jeff Derr who was fouled. With the crowd in a frenzy, Jeff dropped in both free throws to put Gordon in front 67-64 with 4.3 seconds left.
A Gordon timeout resulted in a bit of strategy that paid off big-time. Endicott had to go the full length of the court and shortly after Bobby Montrond crossed halfcourt Timmy fouled him before he attempted a shot. Bobby went to the foul line but there were just 1.5 seconds left and the Gulls were down by three. He made the first and I believe that he was trying to miss the second but it hit the back rim and went straight up and also went in. Now all Gordon had to do was successfully inbound the ball, Timmy did to Brady Bajema, and this one was history.
Exciting? This one was from beginning to end. Crowd involvement? It let up only at halftime. The Gordon support system traveled well and never let up. Endicott outnumbered them and never let up on their cheering.
So the Scots are still undefeated (6-0) and will hardly be able to catch their collective breathes before playing rugged Salem State at the Bennett Center on Saturday night. Endicott, now 4-3, gets Clark next.
The Scots have now won three straight from the Gulls including two on the road. However, this one was nonleague. On January 31st the return match takes place at Gordon and this one will be a league game.
I’m still scratching my head over this game’s first half. After an opening jam by Justin Martin in the first minute, the Gulls went nine possessions without a point. When Endicott got through with those unrewarding possessions they were still ahead 2-0 with six minutes played! Incredible. Great Gull defense? Certainly had a lot to do with it but c’mon it wasn’t that great, I don’t think. Whatever, the Scots had a ridiculous 15 turnovers (that is not a typo) in the first half and believe it or not, LED 20-16 at the half. Endicott only shot 25% and it was just plain ugly basketball.
There was a Gordon timeout in the first half after one of those 15 turnovers and Coach Schauer was actually laughing as he went into the huddle. What else could he do?
The Gulls came out making (finally) shots in the second half. They had one miss in the first eight minutes and moved ahead by eight, 37-29. Nine of those points came in a row as Ross Stewart hit a three and Graham Whitelaw followed with two of his own.
If you’re the worrying type, you might have thought that this was the beginning of the end. You’d be wrong because the Gulls shooting touch deserted them and they scored just 13 more points in the last 12 minutes and were fortunate not to lose the game in regulation.
Meanwhile the Scots heated up and went on a 15-2 run to lead 48-42 with five minutes left. You might have thought that Gordon was about to pull away. Again, you might have been wrong. A very difficult layup by 6-1 Graham Whitelaw against 6-9 Ben Gaskill resulted in a score and a made free throw to tie the score at 50 with 27 seconds left in regulation. The Scots used the whole clock but Timmy’s last-second jumper bounced off the rim to send this one into overtime.
The Gulls grabbed the lead four times in overtime but a very difficult layup-and-one by Aaron put Gordon ahead with just over a minute to go. Next time down was the 3-point prayer from the corner followed by Jeff’s two free throws on Gordon’s last possession. Wow, I’m tired just recalling it!
The stats really tell a story in this one.
I’ve already mentioned the 15 first half turnovers for Gordon – they only had seven in the second half.
Another measure of the tight Gull defense was that Gordon had only eight assists in 45 minutes of basketball. That tells me that they could only score after beating their man rather than being set up by a teammate. They had been averaging nearly 17 assists in the first five games.
The rebounding stats? It’s official, Gordon is going to dominate teams on the boards. This is all new to me after watching this team get beat up on the boards for six years. Endicott had only five offensive rebounds including three in the first half. The Big Three (Greg Walker/Ben Gaskill/Jeff Derr) combined for 24 rebounds. They also added 40 points.
As I see it, Endicott now plays the way Gordon used to – they get open on the outside and have snipers like Graham Whitelaw (21 points) and Ross Stewart (22 points) to put up points in a hurry. Gordon, on the other hand, now looks to go inside on almost every possession to exploit the inside moves of Jeff or Greg. It takes some getting used.
In the end, however, it was Aaron saving the day. And his only 2 points in the first half were on a last-second scoop shot. There were no easy shots on this night but he ended up with 24 points including 10 in the overtime. It may be time for the Gordon support system to start chanting “MVP” when he scores at the Bennett Center.