(Wenham MA) “We’re going to the ‘ship,” the Gordon faithful chanted as time ran out on Thursday night at the Bennett Center.
Yes, indeed, Gordon is back in the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship game after defeating Wentworth, 66-55, in a rematch of last year’s semi-final matchup.
The setting to settle the 2013-14 CCC champ will be held in Dudley (MA) at the home of the #1 seed Nichols Bison on Saturday (2PM).
Last year the Scots were at jam-packed Curry (1100 spectators) for the CCC championship game. Gordon fell behind early in that one and never could find a way of catching up and ended up losing, 69-63.
Nichols (22-5) squeaked by Salve Regina in overtime tonight to reach the CCC basketball championship game for the first time ever. The Bison have two wins over Gordon this season.
Versus Wentworth (12-15) in the CCC semi-finals, the Scots never trailed. Hans Miersma opened the scoring with a dunk and Gordon was off to dominating performance around the basket. On this night, Gordon would register twenty-eight points in the paint.
Wentworth resisted the urge, most of the night, to try getting to the basket. They settled for jump shots and 3-point attempts. They had only eight points in the paint the entire game.
The Leopards hoped to control tempo, make outside shots, and keep the ball away from 6-9 Hans Miersma. The visitors from Boston got the last one done but not the other two.
However, by defending Hans with 1+ defenders, WIT opened the way for 6-7 Jason Dempsey to see single coverage. Jason was able to collect a career-high eighteen points including thirteen in the second half.
In his final game at the Bennett Center, senior Park Thomas reached the 1000-point plateau with a free throw late in the game.
The eye-catching thing for me in the game was the Gordon foul shooting. It was an amazing 25-for-29. Jason was 8-for-9 while Park was 8-for-10. Maybe those free throws flow a bit easier when your team never trails and leads by as many as twenty points in the second half.
The Scots (16-10) broke open an 8-5 lead with nine straight points. Hans had two inside scores while Park had a fancy layup and Alex Carnes nailed a 3-pointer in the Gordon run.
Gordon led, 31-21, at the half.
That lead would grow to a comfortable twenty (49-29) with 10:39 left on a how-did-he-do-that tip by Jason Dempsey.
But Wentworth didn’t drive to Wenham to be blown out. They had upset ENC two days earlier and they had defeated Gordon at the Bennett Center in early January. Over the next six minutes the Leopards put a 16-6 run together and with 4 1/2 minutes left trailed by only ten. A couple of three’s by Scott Moran paced WIT in their comeback.
The Leopards were within nine (57-48) with 2:57 to go in somebody’s season. It was nervous time in Wenham.
Junior Taylor Bajema, however, followed with two huge plays to douse WIT comeback plans. First he snagged an offensive rebound and turned it into an old-fashioned 3-point play. Then Taylor had a steal that led to two Park Thomas free throws. When those plays were done Gordon was back in command (62-48) and on their way to the championship game.
Best player on the floor? Derek Mayo. The Leopard senior ended his career with another terrific stat line: 10 points/9 assists/7 rebounds/5 steals.
Derek Mayo 21
Taylor Bajema 15
Jason Dempsey 15
Hans Miersma 15 (11 rebounds)
Jherson Colon 14 (20 points)
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)