(In James 4, it talks about making assumptions about tomorrow – “Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” I got home to Newburyport after the game with writing plans. Twenty-two hours later the electricity has been restored, for which I am grateful.)
(Wenham) What a game! The efficiency of the Scots on both ends of the court, combined with the sixth-man level crowd made this a memorable evening.
It also got Gordon (23-4) past the semifinal CCC tourney hump that had eluded them during the past four seasons.
Gordon reached the unfamiliar finals of the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament with their, 77-58, win over Colby-Sawyer (15-12) at the Bennett Center on Thursday night.
This was the eighth straight CCC postseason for the Scots but just the first time getting to The Big Game on Saturday night.
Last season Colby-Sawyer ended Gordon’s season in the semifinals up at New London, but not this time.
The Scots took an 11-9 lead, 4 ½ minutes into the game on Aaron Trigg’s 3-pointer and never trailed the rest of the way.
The Gordon offense was consistently good (51% field goal percentage) from just about everywhere. Aaron Trigg (27 points), Greg Walker (20 points) and Brady Bajema (16 points) led all scorers and gave the normally tight Charger defense fits all game.
Aaron had the long-ball going (5-for-7), made ten free throws and handed out five assists.
Greg picked up his defense on Jason Chevrefils (he had 19 points in the earlier CS win) and hit short jumpers to avoid the double-teams he faced when getting the ball closer to the basket.
Brady took the ball to the basket more than he has all season, made seven free throws and dished out seven assists.
Gordon’s defense was excellent as well. The CCC’s co-defensive player-of-the-year (Ben Gaskill) combined with Tim MacDonnell to stymie Jon Chaloux – top scorer in the CCC with 18PPG. The last-game Charger suffered through a four-point game going 0-for-8 from the floor. Ben also had ten rebounds.
Similar to the Endicott experience on Tuesday night, there was no history to suggest that Colby-Sawyer didn’t have the coaching, players, and big-game experience to give the Scots a bad night. They had beaten Gordon three straight, including a 90-64 rout last February at the Bennett Center.
The Chargers were as close as 32-29 in the first half and the Scots lead at halftime was a very uncomfortable, 36-31.
The Scots came out in the second half unaware, apparently, about what was supposed to happen and built the lead to 43-32 in the first three minutes. Twice Gordon broke down CS’s interior defense with Greg Walker as the finisher.
The lead was still double digits (51-41) with 13 ½ minutes left before Corey Willis nailed an NBA range trey to instantly cut the margin to seven. The worrywarts from the Endicott game now resurfaced at the Bennett Center.
But Aaron answered with a 3 of his own and started Gordon on a 13-2 point spree over seven minutes that made things 64-46 with 6 ½ minutes to go. Aaron had a couple of threes, Greg had a couple of layups, and Brady had three free throws.
Things got a bit dicey over the next two minutes as CS ran six straight but the Chargers would get no closer than twelve the rest of the way. Brady and Aaron combined for 9-of-10 free throws in the end game.
The Gordon crowd has been spectacular in both games. They chose to give Charger freshman Corey Willis special chanting attention and he ended up shooting just 3-for-12.
The only negative I heard from The Pit was their late-game chanting of “over-rated” in senior Jon Chaloux’s direction after he fouled out of his last game. Earlier that chant made sense but not when an excellent player has just ended his career.
In the same vein, it was classy of Aaron to step away from the foul line late in the game and applaud CS senior captain Dave Rosso when he exited for the final time.
The Curry Colonels (15-12) will be the Big Game opponent Saturday night. They have been in the Big Game three of the last four years winning two years ago.
Gordon defeated Curry, 74-68, in Wenham on January 23rd. In that one, the Scots had 26 turnovers (all-time high?) but nailed eleven 3’s. Curry features two CCC first-teamers – Jarrell Jackson and Mark Mastrullo.