(Boston) You’re facing a team you beat by twenty-three points a week ago. Your best player has a career high in points. You shoot 55% for the game including 72% in the second half. You have a freshman come off the bench and contribute a career high twelve points. You have the ball with eleven seconds left in regulation in a tie game. And you still lose??
But that’s what happened as Wentworth sent Gordon to the exits, 74-67, in overtime in Round One of the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament on Tuesday night at Wentworth.
You feel badly for the players and the coaching staff because the Scots were not a 9-17 team. And there certainly wasn’t a lack of effort. But an astounding eleven times versus CCC opponents, Gordon took L’s that could just have easily been W’s. They were ahead in the second half in every one of those losses. I’m not making this up!
Wasted in this one was a monster game (33 points) by David Dempsey. The CCC announced today that David made the All-League first team. The surprise for most of us would have been if he hadn’t made it. Strong already in many league categories, including shooting percentage, he’s gone off the last two games with 28 points (Nichols) and thirty-three tonight. His previous career high was a year ago (32 points) in GC’s first round loss at Anna Maria.
The key sequence of the game, in my opinion, had Gordon, after a timeout, in possession with the score tied and the final seconds running out. David started with the ball above the top of the key. You knew he’d try to get closer and make a tough shot in traffic (he’d been doing it all game), or try to draw a foul. Unfortunately, for the Scots, Wentworth was on the same page. They clogged up the penetrating lanes and when he tried to spin closer, Derek Mayo stripped him. Chance for a win squandered.
In overtime, Cooper Meyer (12 points) has Gordon tied, 63-63, with 2:57 left. The Scots scored zip for the next 2:14 while the Leopards got free throws (Nico Donato/Adam Dombrowski) and a dagger three by Corey Therriault from Adam. Now down by five with 47 seconds left, the Scots were cooked as Wentworth added five more free throws.
Cooper (freshman) had his first double-digit game for Gordon and played his most minutes. He has the quickness to get himself open for shots against anyone. He gave Gordon the lead (58-56) in regulation with a three and added another long in OT to tie the score. We’re talking huge shots in a do-or-die tournament game.
How would I explain this loss? Pitiful start and the old standby – ball mismanagement.
A week ago the five seniors started. They made their first five shots and played WIT’s starters even for five minutes. A week later, the regular starters start and score one basket in the first 5+ minutes, to go with three missed shots and three turnovers. That puts the team down 12-2 early.
There’s no rhyme nor reason to the turnovers. This time they totaled twenty-three and they led to twenty-three Leopard points. We’re not now trying to explain a loss if Gordon had done better in this season-long troubling category.
A week ago it was Wentworth with 19 miscues while Gordon had only 14. One week later, Wentworth had 10 turnovers and Gordon 23. The five starters had twenty miscues between them and no one had more than five. It’s a team problem that has to be fixed. All the starters will be a year older next time around and better at passing and dribbling……..we hope.
I have to admit that I wasn’t keenly aware of the rising total of turnovers because this game was close. The WIT defense was tight but their shooting during regulation wasn’t. Gordon quickly tied the score (26-26) in the second half on inside scores by Hans Miersma, Park Thomas, and David Dempsey. The rest of regulation it was back-and-forth with eight lead changes. It was truly anyone’s game and the Scots didn’t take it.
For Wentworth, the victory keys were great team defense in the waning seconds of regulation and nailing two three’s in overtime. Adam Dombrowski (CCC All-League honorable mention) led the Leopards with 21 points. Teammate Corey Therriault (CCC All-League 2nd team) added sixteen. Corey made four-of-seven long ones. Derek Mayo contributed eleven points to go with four steals including the last one in regulation.
The Leopards’ seventeen steals were a season high against Gordon.
Hans Miersma grabbed twelve rebounds.
The Gordon fans on hand will tell you that besides watching basketball they also got a good look at the Wentworth men’s lacrosse team and hockey (?) team and an earful as well. The noise you expect but when the clothes start coming off……
When you have a horse in the race, the losses are painful. But there were wins and there certainly were exciting league games. I wish the departing seniors (Stephen/Adam Herod, Jon Himottu, JT Himmelstein, and Garrett Harden) well……we’ll miss them.
The starters are all back and I’m sure that recruiting is well under way. There are certainly things to build on and things to work on. Should be a busy off-season for everyone connected to the program.
This finishes my tenth season of attempting every-game coverage. Lord willing, I’m in it for the 11th.
Special thanks to the Gordon families and players I’ve had the opportunity to interact with along the way this season. Thanks to my wife (Julie) for her encouragement. Also thanks to AD Jon Tymann for giving this blog a chance on the Gordon website.
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:1
(The pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)