Category Archives: Western New England

Gordon hangs on to defeat Western New England 64-61

Mike Gelineau of Western New England shoots for the tie

Mike Gelineau of Western New England shoots for the tie

Jason Dempsey (18 points and 10 rebounds) in for two in the first half

Jason Dempsey (18 points and 10 rebounds) in for two in the first half

(Wenham MA) “Good if it goes!”

Fortunately, on this evening Mike Gelineau’s half-court, last-second shot did not connect and Gordon survived, 64-61, against Western New England on Tuesday night at the Bennett Center.

The win evens the Scots record at 2-2 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and runs their undefeated streak to three.  Gordon (5-6) will resume play in Milton versus Curry on Thursday night at 7:30PM.

That the Scots were even in a position to be caught at the end was a stunner to those on hand who saw the home team dominate the first fifteen minutes of the second half.

Gordon led, 58-41, with 5 1/2 minutes left.  You assumed the victory and wondered what the size of it would be.  However, as this one wound down the size of the victory became a distant memory replaced by wondering if GC could hold on and win.

Gordon missed twelve free throws in the second half

Gordon missed twelve free throws in the second half

Turnovers happen and missed free throws happen.  Put five turnovers together with four straight misses from the foul line and the door becomes wide open for an opponent’s comeback.  And that is exactly what happened.

The visitors from Springfield tallied fourteen straight points in a 4:21 span of time and had their deficit down to three (58-55) with 1:11 left.

But the Scots responded with clutch plays by Hans Miersma (rebound/dunk), Jaren Yang (two free throws), and Jason Dempsey (offensive rebound) to offset WN three’s by Luis Agrait and Lucien Fortier and saved the win.

Gordon had a three-point lead when Mike Gelineau (15 points) launched the last-second shot.  If Mike had nailed that half-court shot the game would have gone into overtime.

Hans Miersma (12 points and 18 rebounds)

Hans Miersma (12 points and 18 rebounds)

The Scots dominated the boards led by Hans Miersma’s 18 rebounds and Jason Dempsey’s 10 rebounds.  Their two offensive rebounds in the last minute led to needed Gordon points in crunch time.

Both Hans and Jason reached double figures in points as well.  It is obvious that most teams in the CCC cannot match up with both of them.  WN didn’t have the size to match up with either of them but worked hard to deny the ball inside.  And once the ball did get inside the defensive help came.


Hans Miersma 22
Jason Dempsey 19
Jaren Yang 14 (15 points/4 assists/3 rebounds)
Lucian Fortier 12 (9 points/4 rebounds)

Gordon 67
Western New England 58

In the fix-it-before-it-costs-us-a game category: Gordon was a worrisome 17-for-31 from the foul lane.  Twelve of those misses came in the second half.

Taylor Bajema missed the game as a result of a concussion he suffered in practice.

Dominic Paradis recovered from an injury and gave GC coach Tod Murphy twenty-seven minutes versus WN.

Gordon was down 16-9 midway in the first half.  Freshman Jake Hart canned three jump shots leading the Scots to a 17-17 tie.

Jaren Yang (15 points)

Jaren Yang (15 points)

Jaren Yang made a layup in heavy traffic to end the first half.

Scary moment in the first half was when junior Tizauni Boyles went down hard on his back getting a rebound.  He did recover.  Tizauni went to school at nearby Lynn English.

Former GC hoopsters Shaun Roach and Greg Walker were in the house.  Both are getting married this summer.

This was the first I have seen of Craig McFarlane as a starter.  Seldom used until the Lesley game in December, Craig has been productive getting two 3-pointers in each of the last three games.  The senior will continue to get looks from the outside as teams slide outside defenders inside to help against Hans and Jason.


(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Mike Gelineau (15 points) tries to drive the baseline

Mike Gelineau (15 points) tries to drive the baseline

Musa Elsir shoots over Jason Dempsey

Musa Elsir shoots over Jason Dempsey



Sam Johnson chases a rebound

Sam Johnson chases a rebound

Jake Hart (6 points) covers David Silva

Jake Hart (6 points) covers David Silva

Connor Bras (24) on defense

Connor Bras (24) on defense

David Silva and Craig McFarlane had eight points each

David Silva and Craig McFarlane had eight points each

Richie Armand (12) on defense

Richie Armand (12) on defense


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Park Thomas (21 points) leads Gordon past Western New England 73-57

Park Thomas (#33) had twenty-one points for Gordon including five treys

Park Thomas (#33) had twenty-one points for Gordon including five treys

Hans Miersma gets one of his ten rebounds

Hans Miersma gets one of his ten rebounds

(Wenham MA) Park Thomas (21 points) connected from long range eleven seconds into the game and sent Gordon on its way to a 73-57 win over Western New England.

The Scots never trailed as the Bears had an off shooting night (30%) and struggled to run points together.

The Scots victory clinched a spot in the eight-team Commonwealth Coast Conference postseason tournament with five league games left.

Gordon (9-4 in the CCC) is currently in second place three games behind Nichols.  The possibility of the Scots overtaking Nichols (won ten straight) is remote.  However, finishing second will earn Gordon at least two postseason home games if they win their opener.

Kevin Wilkes looks for someone to pass to

Kevin Wilkes looks for someone to pass to

A second place finish would also keep Gordon away from Nichols (defeated Gordon twice) until the championship game.  Plenty of speculation in what I’ve just written.  We’ll have to wait and see where everyone is standing after the final regular season CCC games on Saturday February 22nd.

This was a big game for Park.  The senior point guard reached twenty points for the third time in his GC career and the second time this season.  He had 25 points versus Worcester State this year.

Park was hot from long distance (five 3’s) and contributed significantly to Gordon’s season high in three’s (eleven).  Isn’t it amazing how easy the game is when shots are falling from the outside??

rebound action

rebound action

While Gordon was making shots, WNE struggled.  Good defense?  That was surely some of it but missing thirteen free throws (13-for-26) is hard to explain.  The Bears’ shots just weren’t falling from anywhere.

Gordon got up 16-4 before WNE rallied back to trail only, 26-25, with 4:14 left in the first half.  The Scots led by nine (39-30) at halftime.

In the second half, GC had a seventeen point spread (53-36) with 12:53 left before the Bears moved to within eight (58-50) with 7:29 to go.  But on this night WNE couldn’t run points together and Gordon ended up winning, 73-57.

Alex Carnes, just off being CCC player-of-the-week, had a career high seven assists in this game to go along with 16 points.

Nick DeFeo and Park Thomas were toe-to-toe most of the game

Nick DeFeo and Park Thomas were toe-to-toe most of the game

One of the better matchups in this game was between the top two rebounders statistically in the conference; Dennis Rinaldi and Hans Miersma.  Hans won the rebounding matchup 10-9.  Dennis, however, did get twelve points (11 in the second half) while foul-plagued Hans was held to a season-low two points.

Plenty of interaction between Park Thomas and Nick DeFeo with both applying tight defense on the other.  Park did run into a blind pick set by Musa Elsir that had him wondering for a minute whether he was on foot or horseback.

Efficiency stat

Park Thomas 21,  Alex Carnes  19, Hans Miersma 13, and Dennis Rinaldi 11.

Gordon 94, Western New England 49

Western New England is currently in 8th place in the conference one game ahead of Curry.

The Scots will be in Milton on Saturday afternoon to face Curry.  Reflecting on the last time Gordon was down there (CCC title game) will not bring back pleasant memories.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Coach Tod Murphy instructs

Coach Tod Murphy instructs

Hans Miersma and Dennis Rinaldi wrestle for a rebound

Hans Miersma and Dennis Rinaldi wrestle for a rebound

Zack Askew finishes

Zack Askew finishes

Richie Armand defends

Richie Armand defends

Ryan Mickiewicz gets in for two

Ryan Mickiewicz gets in for two

Dominic Paradis finishes

Dominic Paradis finishes

Sam Johnson at the line

Sam Johnson at the line

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Gordon ends road losing streak with 76-64 win at Western New England

Alex Carnes  had fifteen points and ten rebounds against Western New England

Alex Carnes had fifteen points and ten rebounds against Western New England

(Amesbury MA) It was nice to get that “away” thing taken care of.

Gordon traveled to Springfield and defeated Western New England, 76-64, on Tuesday night in a Commonwealth Coast Conference game.

The win stopped a string of five straight road losses for the Scots (4-6 overall/2-2 in the CCC) and keeps them very much in the mix in the conference.  Every team in the CCC already has at least one loss after four games played.

The Golden Bears (2-8 overall/0-4 in the CCC) did not go easily in this one.  They were within five (58-53) with 5 1/2 minutes to go but the game got away from them in the next three minutes.  The Scots went on a 10-1 run in that segment and WNE never recovered taking their fifth straight loss.

Plenty of balance keyed the Gordon win.  Five players reached double figures in points while ten players reached double figures in minutes played.

WNE had five players log at least thirty-three minutes while GC’s top player in minutes was Alex Carnes (25).  That discrepancy in minutes played probably contributed to WNE’s inability to finish their comeback in the final minutes of the game.

Senior Alex Carnes (15 points/10 rebounds) paced Gordon with his second double/double in the last three games.

Four other Scots reached double figures: Hans Miersma (12), Park Thomas (11), Sam Johnson (11), and Luke Hamilton (10).

Taylor Bajema tied a career best in assists with five.  Last time he did it was last year at Western New England.

Richie Armand had five assists versus WNE

Richie Armand had five assists versus WNE

Park Thomas got into foul trouble early in the first half but Richie Armand came off the bench to give Coach Tod Murphy some seamless minutes.  The sophomore handed out five assists, had a steal, and no turnovers in seventeen minutes of action.

I “watched” the game on the LiveStats setup on the WNE website.  It was interesting to see the stats accumulate for the players as well as the teams.  I was pleased to see that efficiency stats were part of the mix.

Efficiency stats
Alex Carnes 19
Kevin Wilkes 15 (16 points)
Musa Elsir 13 (15 points)
Nick DeFeo 12 (12 points/9rebounds)
Hans Miersma

Gordon 92
WNE 70

The Scots have yet to put a winning streak together.  Chance to do it Thursday night (5:30PM) at the Bennett Center versus Curry.

Last time we saw Curry we were watching them celebrate the CCC tourney title at Milton on 2-23-13.  The Colonels are 2-7 and have lost three of their last four.  Is payback in order??

When you get older the surprises are less frequent especially when you open your Christmas gifts.  I was stunned to get an IPad but that is not my point.  Imagine Coach Tod Murphy’s surprise when under his “Christmas tree” was Sam Johnson!

6-6 Sam had been at Endicott but is now at Gordon.  He put up his first points (11) against the Golden Bears.

Sam is from the Cape and had a 1000 point career at Cape Cod Academy in the three years he was at that South Chatham private school.

I did the Google Search work for you.  Here is a story from the Cape Cod Times on Sam.

Boxscore from the game

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Gordon………….they just keep on rolling!

Taylor Bajema goes under and up against Western New England

Taylor Bajema goes under and up against Western New England

David Dempsey had a season-high twenty-five points

David Dempsey had a season-high twenty-five points

(Wenham) Western New England limited David Dempsey to five points in their win over Gordon in November in Springfield.

This time around Gordon’s tenth all-time scorer had five points in less than four minutes and went on to have a big 25-point night leading Gordon (12-5 overall/ 7-3 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference) past Western New England, 79-71, on Wednesday night at the Bennett Center.

The Gordon win coupled with Curry’s loss (119-112) tonight to Nichols gives the Scots a chance to tie the Colonels for the top spot in the CCC on Saturday afternoon in Milton. Curry is 8-2 in the CCC.

(Before I forget, Nichols’ Ryan Sheehan had thirty-eight points in the Bison win.  Makes you appreciate the job Luke and Alex did limiting Ryan to nine points this past Saturday.)

Hans Miersma dunks in the first half

Hans Miersma dunks in the first half

The Scots have now won five straight and ten of their last eleven.  Let me know when I’ve reached the legal limit on this one: last year’s team found different ways to lose, this year’s team finds different ways to win.

Western New England (6-11) was a worthy opponent with plenty of hustle.  That is the only explanation I can think of for their being able to out-rebound Gordon 40-30.  And Hans Miersma (the CCC’s top rebounder) had only three rebounds!

The Golden Bears jumped into an 18-13 first half lead after twelve minutes before the fast-closing Scots tallied six points (David Dempsey-old-fashioned three, Alex Carnes-very late three) in the last twenty-six seconds to get in front by ten (39-29) at the half.

Gordon would elevate their advantage to as high as seventeen (66-49) in the second half with close to nine minutes left.  The thoughts of a cruise-in from there, however, were dashed as WN went on a 17-6 tear over the next 5 ½ minutes.  Suddenly the game was no longer in the comfort zone (72-66) with 3:12 to go.

However, Gordon did not blink.  Park Thomas hit a clutch jump shot and, after a WN missed three, Hans Miersma put in a layup assisted by David Dempsey.

Those baskets restored the Gordon lead to ten (76-66) with 1:47 left and the Golden Bears could not make enough shots to offset three David Dempsey free throws the rest of the way.

Dennis Rinaldi (18 points)

Dennis Rinaldi (18 points)

Dennis Rinaldi (18 points) was impressive for Western New England.  The 6-4 junior made a number of shots close to the basket despite being near to several Gordon shot blockers.

Luke Hamilton put his defensive teeth into WN’s usual high scorer, Damon Alston (12.8 points per game) and held the senior to a 2-for-12, seven-point evening.

The glaring stat from this game was WN getting eighteen offensive rebounds.  Understand that WN only missed seven 3’s so there weren’t too many wild caroms to contend for.  The Golden Bears just wanted the rebounds a little more than the Scots……or so it seemed.

The glowing stat?  Easily it was five turnovers for the ENTIRE game!  Granted Western New England didn’t press until the end, but that miniscule number shouts efficient ball management.  Gordon had two nine-turnover games last year but those two and this one are the only single-digit turnover games in the past four years.

Alex Carnes nails a three just before halftime

Alex Carnes nails a three just before halftime

Park Thomas (13 points), Hans Miersma (11 points), and Alex Carnes (11 points) joined David Dempsey in double figures.

Alex has been a spark off the bench.  He led the Scots in rebounds with five.

Musa Elsir (11 points) reached double figures for Western New England.

Taylor Bajema (eight points) took five shots and made them all.  He also had three assists, a block, and a steal….and earned second place in the efficiency stats.

David Dempsey took a heavy fall after getting tangled up with Damon Alston on a breakaway.  Damon was quick to make sure that David was okay.

Damon Alston and Luke Hamilton

Damon Alston and Luke Hamilton

David’s twenty-five points were a season high.

Gordon missed nine free throws (13-for-22) against Western New England.

The crowd went from very slim to decent, thanks to the supper hour (5:30PM) start.  I personally like the early start because it gives me more pre-midnight time to get this blog done.

Gordon missed eighteen 3’s and nine free throws in the December 1st (73-62) loss to Curry at the Bennett Center in the first meeting.

Eastern Nazarene took a loss tonight to Roger Williams and they are now tied with Gordon in second in the CCC standings at 7-3.

Top Five Players in this game in efficiency:
David Dempsey +25
Taylor Bajema +15
Musa Elsir +13
Dennis Rinaldi +13
Hans Miersma +12

Team stats for this game in efficiency:
Gordon +99
Western New England +80

Efficiency is arrived at by subtracting the bad stats (missed field goals, missed free throws, turnovers) from the good stats (rebounds, points, assists, blocks, steals).


(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably and get in better focus if you click on them.)

Musa Elsir (11 points) shoots a jump shot

Musa Elsir (11 points) shoots a jump shot

DeWayne Wynn gets into heavy Gordon defense

DeWayne Wynn gets into heavy Gordon defense

Hans Miersma gets loose inside in the last two minutes for a big basket

Hans Miersma gets loose inside in the last two minutes for a big basket

Hans Miersma blocks the shot attempt of Dennis Rinaldi

Hans Miersma blocks the shot attempt of Dennis Rinaldi

David Dempsey dribbles .....somehow

David Dempsey dribbles …..somehow

David Dempsey heavily defended by Kevin Wilkes

David Dempsey heavily defended by Kevin Wilkes

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Western New England nips Gordon 68-67 in last minute in conference opener

Park Thomas, shown here against ENC, paced Gordon with sixteen points and seven rebounds.

(Newtown CT)  Western New England did everything right in the last fifty-four seconds and rallied past Gordon, 68-67, in Springfield on Wednesday night.

The game opened the Commonwealth Coast Conference part of their schedules for both teams.

The win in the home opener was the first for the Bears after three losses.

For Gordon (1-2) this game was eerily like the Salem State win on November 20th without the happy ending.  There was David Dempsey taking the last shot, with Gordon down one point, but no sign of Hans Miersma for the game-winning putback.

I watched WNEU’s online live stats coverage of the game.  You get the numbers that way but not the player-to-player interactions.

The last minute had cheer-worthy occurrences for both teams.
First for the Scots: Jason Dempsey (10 points) put Gordon ahead, 67-64, assisted by Taylor Bajema with fifty-five seconds left.
The rest was all WNEU: Ryan Mickiewicz sank two clutch free throws after being fouled by Park Thomas to narrow the Gordon margin to, 67-66.  Dewayne Wynn stole from Park Thomas and put in a layup to give the Bears the lead with seven seconds left (68-67).

This was a game in which the Scots had the lead most of the time but couldn’t get enough separation to avoid the last-minute Bear rally.

Park Thomas paced the Scots with sixteen points.  He also managed to get as many rebounds (seven) as Hans Miersma did.

Credit the WNEU defense with doing a number on David Dempsey.  When you can hold the returning first team CCC player to five points you’re doing something special.  That is two single-digit games in a row for the Gordon senior.  He had only one of those all last year!  No question the broken nose and the distracting face mask, that resulted, are factors in the startling early-season numbers.

Luke Hamilton (13), Shaun Roach (10), and Jason Dempsey (10) reached double figures for Gordon. That was Shaun’s first double-digit game ever.

box score

Top Five Players in Efficiency

Park Thomas +18
Luke Hamilton +15
Jason Dempsey +14
Zack Askew +13
Damon Alston +12

When NBA coaches evaluate a player’s game performance they use the following stats:

#1 –  good stats (rebounds, points, assists, blocks, steals). #2 –  bad stats (missed field goals, missed free throws, turnovers).

A player’s efficiency in a particular game is arrived at by subtracting the sum of the bad stats from the sum of good stats.

Gordon’s next game is Saturday (3PM) versus Curry.  It will be their second CCC game.

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Another Tough Gordon Loss……54-50 to Western New England

David Dempsey (10 points & 12 rebounds)

(Newburyport) If you’re looking for the big smiley face from last night’s, 54-50, loss at Western New England (6-10 overall / 3-7 in the CCC) I’ll give you a little of that.  On the other hand, if you’re looking for some grim reality….read on.

The good stuff?  The Scots (6-11 overall / 5-5 CCC) rallied back from a 28-13 first half deficit to get into winning position.  It took a 29-14 surge over nearly sixteen minutes to do it but they did to gain a 42-42 tie with 6:31 remaining.

Another source of optimism is a look at the current Commonwealth Coast Conference standings.
Salve Regina    8-2
Endicott        6-3
Wentworth    6-4
RWU        6-4
Curry        5-5
Nichols        5-5
Gordon        5-5
UNE        3-7
WNEC        3-7
ENC        2-7

Eight teams make the post-season tournament.  The Scots are currently “in” the tournament and in good position to improve their positioning with victories ahead in the eight league games left.

Okay, enough of that happy talk.  Let’s get down to the reality of last night’s painful loss.  I know, every loss is “painful,” but if you’ve been following the Scots of late you’ve been through a succession of hard-to-swallow setbacks.  Last night fit perfectly into the pattern.

The losing streak has reached five and that lofty 5-0 conference record two weeks ago is now tenuous 5-5.  That gurgling sound we’re hearing of late is the sound of a promising season going down the drain.

In my opinion, the CCC consists of ten teams capable of winning on any given night/afternoon.  You look at the teams ahead of Gordon and you know that we’ve beaten one of them (RWU) and come close with the other three.

The key to last night’s loss was Daniel Minto.  Where’d he come from?  In the early season loss at Gordon, Daniel had two points in twenty minutes.

However, by the start of 2012, Daniel had been elevated by WNEC coach Mike Theulen to the starting lineup and has earned staying there.  He had thirteen points/thirteen rebounds against Salve Regina.  The 6-3 sophomore had twenty points/eight rebounds against Gordon.

He killed the Scots three times in the last minute to give the Golden Bears the win.  Gordon reader discretion advised!  (1) Down by two (50-48) with a minute left and with a chance to tie/go ahead, the Scots’ David Dempsey’s layup try is blocked by Daniel. (2) Ahead by two (50-48) with twenty-two seconds left, the Bears miss a layup but Daniel gets the offensive rebound and is fouled.  (3) Ahead (50-48) with 22 seconds left, Daniel makes both free throws to give the Bears a 52-50 lead.  A block, a rebound, and two free throws……..not a bad last minute!

A bigger look at this game reveals two continuing, correctable currents that have to be dealt with before it’s too late.

Turnovers.  There are turnovers and then there are turnovers that lead to opponent’s points.  The Scots give way too many of the latter.  Eighteen points worth to Western New England.  The transition from offense to defense after turnovers must improve dramatically or the ball movement (before the turnover) must get better.

Bench Points.  Still waiting for someone to come off the bench and make the difference in these close games the team faces regularly.  Versus Western New England the bench provided a pitiful four points.

Next for Gordon is Curry on Saturday afternoon (3PM) at the Bennett Center.  Both teams are 5-5 in the CCC.

Curry knows our pain.  Last night they lost to Nichols by two on a Nichols layup with three seconds left.  At least the winning dagger wasn’t on a long-range three by a hardly-used player!  Curry had twenty-six turnovers in the Nichols game.  This was a team that Gordon defeated in an earlier matchup at Curry.  Could this be the turning-point game???

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Gordon Men’s Basketball Defeats Western New England in League Opener

David Dempsey (22 points) puts in a first half layup.......or was it a dunk?

Luke Hamilton (13 points) chases Andre Shaw (23 points).

(Wenham) The Scots took the lead early and never let go as they opened the Commonwealth Coast Conference part of their schedule defeating Western New England, 63-56, at the Bennett Center on Wednesday night.

Junior David Dempsey paced Gordon with twenty-two points and ten rebounds.

The Scots started the season with three lopsided losses against very good D3 competition.  I wondered how they’d match up in CCC competition.  In this one……pretty good!

The keys to victory were: (1) getting off to a fast start, and (2) making Andre Shaw work hard for the points he scored.

A Jordan Kelly jumper put the Scots in front, 16-6, after 6 ½ minutes.  That lead would get as high as thirteen (33-20) late in the first half before WNE ran seven straight to cut Gordon’s halftime lead to 33-27.

The Scots’ biggest second half spread was 53-41 after a Cooper Meyer jumper at 7:42.  The rest of the way things got a little dicey, but the closest the Golden Bears could get was five (59-54) with a minute left.  However, Ryan Mickiewicz had a clean look at a three with twenty-nine seconds left and WNE behind, 60-54.  If he had dropped that three this one had a chance of getting more interesting than any of the faithful on hand would have enjoyed.  But he missed and the Scots made enough free throws to seal the deal.

Jon Himottu (50) deflects a pass intended for James Hock (33)

A lot of credit for the GC win goes to Luke Hamilton.  He was assigned to Andre Shaw.  Yes, Andre got twenty-three points but it took him fifteen shots to get there partly because of Luke’s pressure.  Luke also added 13 points.  The sophomore had five double-digit games last season.

The Scots lowered their turnovers to fifteen after averaging twenty per game in the three blowouts.

Those seventeen assists for twenty-three baskets reveal a trust-your-teammates side to the Gordon win.

Gordon (1-3) will travel to Curry (Milton MA) on Saturday for a 3PM match with the Colonels in the second CCC game of the season.

Western New England (2-3) will face Nichols at home.

I like what the Gordon women’s team does after home games.  They gather at center court briefly and then they go into the crowd to greet/thank the folks in attendance.  It looks like good manners to me.

Box Score

The pictures enlarge to normal size if you click on them.

David Dempsey

Andre Shaw

crowd organizer

Hans Miersma (34) surrounded

Park Thomas shoots late-game free throw

Shaun Roach (11) steals from Andre Shaw.

Taylor Bajema blocked by Daniel Minto (35)

Alex Carnes - 8 points and 5 assists

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Gordon Honors Seniors and Defeats Western New England

The Pit cheers for seniors Austin Bentson and Greg Walker.

Greg Walker reached 1000 career points this season and was presented a commemorative basketball by Coach Tod Murphy.

(Wenham) The Scots took care of business today. 

They honored seniors Greg Walker and Austin Bentson before the game and then defeated Western New England, 78-59, to continue their run to move up to 8th place and qualify for the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament.

The Saturday afternoon victory at the Bennett Center didn’t move Gordon into the top eight but with two more CCC games left they are now tied with several teams in the top eight.  I have confidence that if Gordon keeps taking care of business (UNE on Wednesday and Salve Regina on Saturday) they will still be playing on George Washington’s birthday.

Before the game, Greg Walker received a specially engraved basketball for reaching 1000 total points for the Scots.  That total was quite a feat considering that he had only 15 points as a freshman.

The Walkers (Suzanne, Greg, Kevin) with Coach Murphy.

Tod Murphy with the Bentsons (Wendy, Austin, and Bob).

Greg and Austin and their proud parents were introduced to the appreciative crowd in a pre-game ceremony.

Western New England (4-19) did not go easily.  Two of their wins were against Wentworth and New England College – teams that defeated Gordon. 

It took a nine-point run in the first half to separate from them and 12-2 segment late in the second half to finish them off.

Two of David Dempsey's seventeen points.

The Scots (10-13) shot well all game (53.8%).  The Golden Bears’ defense committed just eleven fouls so they weren’t exactly dug in on defense.  The Scots had plenty of good looks from the outside and also were able to get the ball inside to Greg (14 points) and David Dempsey (17 points).

WNEC hung around thanks to another afternoon of poor ball management.  WNEC chased the Scots full-court almost the entire game and created twenty-four turnovers.  To get some perspective, you need to know that Gordon had the ball for seventy-two possessions.  That means that for every three times the Scots had the ball they gave it away, without a shot, one time.  Dribbling in an area with more than one defender has not worked well for Gordon all season.

The Gordon defense didn’t get as many turnovers but they did contest shots and forced WNEC into a low shooting percentage (36.2%).  Two shooting droughts, I referenced earlier, doomed the visitors from Springfield.

The first drought covered three minutes and a 24-20 Gordon lead enlarged to 33-20 with 2 ½ minutes left in the first half.  Park Thomas hit a couple of jumpers, Austin nailed a three, and Greg converted a rebound.  Greg had 14 rebounds in the game which was the 4th time this season he’s reached double figures.

The finish-them-off segment started after Damon Alston hit his 4th trey closing WNEC to, 57-49, with 6 ½ to go in the game.  The worrier in me started recalling how tight the last two wins had been and I began to wonder if this would be another one.

Not to worry.  A little over three minutes later Gordon was in complete charge, 69-51.  Why? Garrett Harden (15 points) hit a couple of 3’s while Greg and David each added a layup and free throw. 

Damon Alston (12), Brad Thomka (11), and Chris Devine (10) reached double figures for the Golden Bears.

Luke Hamilton and Garrett were a combined 7-for-9 from long range.  Wouldn’t a dangerous outside attack lessen the defensive pressure Greg normally has to deal with around the basket.

I saw a couple of blocked shots.  JT Himmelstein got one on a driving Chris Devine and I later saw Jordan Kelly do the same to Brad Thomka.

There was a nice gathering afterwards for parents and players honoring the seniors.  Assistant coach Keith Krass gave Austin and Greg highly-treasured Gordon blankets.

Gordon is at the University of New England on Wednesday night at 8PM.  

Other pictures I took.  If you click on the picture it gets larger.

Defense collapsed on Greg

"I haven't fouled anyone in four years"

Wendy Bentson & Suzanne Walker


Mike Schnackenberg jokes with Brady Bajema


JT chases a turnover.

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Filed under 2010-11 Gordon College men's basketball, Tod Murphy, Western New England

Seniors Graduate on May 15th

Aaron, Mike, Tim, Ben, Brady, Justin, and Ben do some post-graduation posing.

(Wenham)  I was there and I can confirm it – they graduated! 

Aaron Trigg waits to march to graduation.

I was at Gordon on sunny/breezy Saturday morning (May 15th) and watched Jeff Derr, Aaron Trigg, Brady Bajema, Tim MacDonnell, and Ben Gaskill end their four years among us.

Last time I saw the five of them together was in March in Middlebury (VT) when the home team took out our Scots in the NCAA D3 tourney.  Who knew that Middlebury’s Andrew Locke would block thirteen shots and send Gordon to a first-round exit?

It was good to see all the players’ families together for one last time.  You always imagine that there are games ahead that they will attend but it seldom, if ever, works out. 

There was talk of everyone getting back together when the CCC tournament banner is put on display in the Bennett Center during the 2010-11 season.  That would be special.

I was very impressed with commencement speaker Jim Cymbala.  It wasn’t just the brevity of his remarks but the topic – the importance of prayer.  There was something there for all of us!

Coach Tod Murphy waves to seniors.

One comment that previous Gordon coach Mike Schauer used to make to me when I mentioned a talented player on an opposing team: “The important thing,” he would say, “was to make sure he graduates.”  And here is Tod Murphy at graduation, probably hoping that Aaron, Brady, Tim, Jeff, and Ben weren’t graduating!

Anyone on board knows that there are big changes ahead.  For starters, look at the team picture on Championship Saturday and delete the front row.  However, one of the trademarks of your Scots over the past eight seasons has been to graduate players yet still be able to qualify for the CCC tournament (top eight) every season.  Let’s be optimistic here! 

The other significant change, other than the roster, is the future of the CCC.  My understanding is that in two seasons Gordon and eight other schools (UNE, Endicott, Salve Regina, Roger Williams, Nichols, Curry, Western New England, and Wentworth) will form a new conference.  That will leave Regis, New England, Colby-Sawyer, Anna Maria, and ENC out in the cold for reasons I choose not to guess at.  It will be interesting to see how this all works out.

Anyhow, God bless Aaron, Brady, Tim, Jeff, and Ben.  And God bless your families as well.

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Filed under CCC Tournament, Colby-Sawyer, Curry, ENC, Endicott, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Mike Schauer, New England College, Nichols, Regis, Roger Williams, Salve Regina, Tod Murphy, Wentworth, Western New England

Seniors Lead Way Past Salve Regina to 21st Win

Gordon seniors - Tim MacDonnell, Brady Bajema, Ben Gaskill, Jeff Derr, Aaron Trigg

(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

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.

Jabreche Boyd - led all scorers with 23 points

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.  

box score

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Filed under CCC Tournament, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Salve Regina, Western New England