(Wenham) Efficient defense and strong contributions from the bench sent Gordon (8-3/1-0) to victory over Wentworth (4-7/0-1), 57-49, on Saturday afternoon at the student-less Bennett Center.
This was the first Commonwealth Coast Conference league game for each team. The Scots next travel to Anna Maria on Tuesday for an 8PM matchup with the Amcats.
The Leopards had 6’11” Sam Herrick inside but Ben Gaskill (6’9”) did a remarkable job limiting Sam to seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.
The other Gordon defenders weren’t too shabby either and had a part in Wentworth missing forty-three shots overall and shooting just 29.5% for the game.
The Scots didn’t shoot all that well in the second half but the first half was a different story – 13-for-23 (56.5%).
The game-deciding stretch saw Gordon face an 11-8 deficit at the 12-minute mark and turn it into a 28-16 advantage at 4:45 of the half. In a game where the Scots made a season-low four 3-pointers, they connected on three of them (Jeff Derr/Brady Bajema/Tim MacDonnell) during this decisive segment.
The contributions off the bench of Jeff, Tim, and Dave Dempsey were huge on both ends of the court. They usually help defensively but on this afternoon, they combined for 7-of-13 and 24 points. Pretty important when the team tallies just 57 points in the game. Jeff’s twelve and Tim’s seven were season highs for them.
The Leopards had an 8-point run early in the second half to close to 38-29 with old-fashioned and new-fashioned three’s by Jack Barrett in there. Jeff and Tim returned the Gordon lead to double-digits (34-29 with 13 minutes left). The spread was still substantial (53-37) with two minutes left. Wentworth put up 12 points the rest of the way but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome.
I have to admit that the second half (with both teams shooting poorly and Gordon turning the ball over eleven times) was painful to watch. However, the most exciting play of the season happened during that half. You know that Gordon fastbreaks are rare – we’re not a track team! However, after an Aaron Trigg steal, off to the races the team went. Brady headed to the basket on the right side and spotted Ben Gaskill going fullspeed at the top of the key. A quick handoff to Ben and he sailed in for a dunk. The crowd, what there was of it, loved it.
That dunk gave Gordon its biggest lead of the game (38-21) but instead of igniting the offense, the Scots went the next five minutes without scoring and collected four straight turnovers to go with four missed shots. But in a game where the opponent never seemed to produce consistent offense, the Scot’s erratic second half wasn’t costly.
Ben led everyone with 12 rebounds. When you combine that with his neutralizing of the other team’s top scorer (Sam Herrick – 11.8ppg), you sense the senior’s value to the 2009-10 team.
This win lessens my recall of last year’s overtime loss in the league opener at Wentworth. In that one Gordon played without Brady and was out-rebounded by ten. This time around, Brady was available and the rebound margin was lowered to three.
I saw Mike Schnackenberg and Jon Marstaller in the house as well as the parents from away (Kansas/Ohio/Illinois).
The next home game is in two weeks versus Curry.
This was the first game (in 7+ years) that my usual seat behind the team benches wasn’t available. Number me among those who aren’t all that thrilled with hope and change!