(Wenham) Plenty of where-did-the-time-go moments as each set of five parents paraded out to midcourt with their son on Saturday afternoon at the Bennett Center.
The five seniors then became the game starters for Gordon (21-4/12-1) and played big roles, as usual, in leading the Scots to an 89-62 win over Salve Regina (4-21/3-10).
Gordon had clinched the top spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference several games ago. The real down-to-the-wire action today was sorting out the five teams below Gordon, Wentworth, and Curry in the standings. Five teams in that group ended up with six losses. Today’s results have Gordon’s first round opponent at the Bennett Center at 7PM on Tuesday to be Endicott. Other teams in our bracket are Nichols and Colby-Sawyer. Hey, who said this would be easy.
Let’s return to the game I’m supposed to be telling you about. The atmosphere was relaxed. It had the feel of an exhibition game with a lot more open shots than usual. Gordon, in fact, put up a season-high 68 shots and made half of them. Many of the Scot opportunities were of the high-percentage, in-close variety.
Jeff Derr (17 points/10 rebounds) used his first start of the season to register his first ever double/double.
Greg Walker (12 points/11 rebounds) collected a similar double/double.
Both big men benefited from size advantages but it was the Seahawks weak interior defense that really hurt the visitor’s chances. SRU played Brady Bajema (7 points/3 assists) and Aaron Trigg (15 points/4 assists) man-to-man and tried to zone everyone else. This arrangement left many inside opportunities for the unselfish Gordon offense and in this game, the Scots cashed in regularly.
For ten minutes, though, this looked like a game that the Scots could lose. The Seahawks were hot from the outside (four 3’s including two by Jabreche Boyd) and SRU had a 16-14 lead.
The next 6 ½ minutes were a Gordon delight as six different players helped the Scots run off seventeen unanswered points and end up with a 31-16 advantage. The damage was done from in close except for Tim MacDonnell’s trey.
The halftime lead was 38-26.
The Seahawks were very competitive for the first ten minutes of the second half as well. Jabreche Boyd (game-high 23 points) and Ryan Birrell (14 points) were the primary scorers for SRU as the Gordon lead was just 57-48 with 10:17 left.
Gordon, however, put the game away over the next 3+ minutes on free throws and layups from six different players during a 13-3 segment to move the Scots to a more relaxed, 72-51, advantage. There was a 10-point run further along and opportunities for each senior to be replaced to rousing ovations.
The crowd was enthusiastic and sported pictures of the seniors.
Ben Gaskill added some offense (13 points) to another fine defensive effort. This time his defensive work limited Dan Royce (16.5 points per game) to one point.
Adam Herod came in late and put up his first points of the season.
Brady’s last basket gave him 1090 points and put him into 15th place on the all-time scorer’s list ahead of Justin Kaufman (1088).
Aaron’s fifteen points gives him 1530 and puts him within range of fourth all-time scorer (Steve Heinz) who has 1545 points.
Gordon had its best game of the season as far as turnovers go, committing just eleven. SRU did do some pressing.
Gone now, is the relaxed atmosphere of the last few games. Now teams get to feel either the “thrill of victory and or the agony of defeat.” I would like to be “thrilled” at least through next Saturday!
The last four seasons the Scots have defeated Nichols, Salve Regina, Wentworth, and Roger Williams in first round games.