(Wenham MA) This one didn’t get away like the OT loss in January did.
The Scots (10-9) took the lead for good with just under three minutes left and held off Endicott, 83-77, on Saturday afternoon.
“Obviously winning a game is a great thing,” said Gordon coach Tod Murphy postgame, “but when you do it against a team like Endicott, that’s pretty special.”
The Gulls (15-5) have the best record (9-2) in the Commonwealth Coast Conference despite the loss.
The records, however, are irrelevant to the excitement each of these games between EC and GC creates.
“What a great college-game atmosphere,” said Endicott coach Kevin Bettencourt afterwards. “We look forward to this game just like they do.”
The crowd was active. The seats were filled and Gordon’s two seniors (Eric Demers and AJ Terry) were honored pre-game.
“The crowd was amazing,” added junior Josh Crutchfield. “It felt like we were on top of the world.”
Eric Demers (35 points) continues to be productive despite drawing special defensive attention.
Eric has now scored at least thirty points in eleven straight games. “What he did tonight is standard for him,” said Coach Murphy.
Asked about the game afterwards, Eric deflected the credit away from himself: “We stick together. I think we’ve really matured over the last few weeks. The beginning of the season was “get the ball to Eric and see what happens.” Now we’re starting to jell as a team and trust one another. That’s what it takes to win games.”
Today’s game featured eight ties and twelve lead changes. Plenty to stir the hopes of each team!
However, with 2:53 left in the game, the last of those lead changes took place as Eric drained a three in front of the Gordon student section and the Scots were in front, 76-74.
“We had some shots late that we were comfortable with that just didn’t go in,” said Coach Bettencourt. “Credit Gordon, they made a few extra plays down the stretch.”
Senior Keith Brown paced the Gulls with twenty-six points while freshman Jalen Echevarria added eighteen.
Junior Matt McDevitt also tallied eighteen points and had some impressive additional stats to go with his point production; fourteen rebounds and seven assists. He only missed four shots. It was his second double/double of the season.
The defeat ended a six-game win streak for the Gulls. Gordon has now won two straight.
Coach Murphy ventured into new territory during our conversation afterwards: “Our defense made the difference tonight and I haven’t said that all season long. We recognized where their shooters were for the most part and made plays when we needed to.”
In the January loss, Endicott picked the Gordon zone apart (28 assists) and forced Coach Murphy to abandon that defense. That didn’t happen tonight. The Gulls had only fourteen assists and the zone was still in place at game’s end.
Freshman Xahn Frater saw his longest minutes of the season (21) and contributed six points, all in the second half.
“Xahn and Zach (Bennett) stepped up today,” said Josh Crutchfield. “They acted like they were seniors!”
Parker Omslaer (13 points/13 rebounds) had his fourth double/double of the season. A key play for the 6-11 junior was his defense in a late Endicott possession. Speedster Jalen Echevarria (5-9) drove toward the basket looking for points and/or a foul. He got neither. “When he came in, I just wanted to stay straight up,” said Parker. “I was able to contest the shot without fouling.”
“When Parker jumps straight up, he has such an impact,” added Coach Murphy.
Eric Demers: “You do all that practicing for moments like this.”
Coach Murphy: “I can’t say enough about our two seniors. Tonight, AJ was so active, rebounding and blocking shots.”
Coach Bettencourt: “This is the fun part of the season. We’re getting into February and some big games are coming up.”
Josh Crutchfield: “Endicott has a wonderful team. It’s always great to beat them.”
Parker Omslaer: “Out of anyone, Endicott is the one I want to beat. That last game with them is still in my memory. I appreciate all the support the crowd gave today.”
AJ Terry: “I think we won it on the defensive end. We got big rebounds late in the game. I fouled out but my teammates stepped up. Best crowd of the year. I hope they show up for some more games.”
Zach Quanico: “It was surreal with all the people here. To the upper classmen this game means a lot and we have to understand that.”
Justin Yu: “It is always a great game with them. A three-point lead against Endicott is nothing.”
Nice gathering afterwards to honor Eric and AJ.
Two more regular-season home games left; Roger Williams (11th) and UNE (19th). The Scots travel to Western New England on Wednesday.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)