Tag Archives: Ben Gaskill

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

Scots Return to Winning Ways Versus Nonleague Bates

Aaron Trigg (25 points) and Brady Bajema (24 points-8 assists) lead Scots past Bates

(Lewiston ME)  Gordon 78 Bates 64

Trust me, that final score is very misleading.  It took two streaks, one (thirteen points) to get the lead, and another (ten points) to put the game out of reach on Thursday night at Lewiston.

Gordon (18-4/9-1) trailed 58-55 with 7 ½ minutes to go.  Having played Tuesday night (loss at Colby-Sawyer), you weren’t confident about their chances on the road in the end game versus a quality Bates (12-11) team on its own court.

However, the Scots played about as well as I’ve seen them play, during the next three minutes, collecting thirteen points over the next six possessions and shutting out the Bobcats.

Austin Bentson had a couple of big plays.  On one end, he somehow put a shot in after stumbling into the lane, and then followed that with a steal down the other end that sent Aaron Trigg off for a fastbreak layin. 

When the wonderful three minutes ended, Gordon had an unlikely 68-58 lead with 4 ½ to go.  Bates came out of a timeout and scored points on three straight possessions while the Scots turned the ball over twice in succession.  So now, we’ve got a 68-64 game with 2:50 left.  Plenty of time for good or bad things to happen.

Only the ultimate Gordon optimist would have predicted, however, what actually happened the rest of the way – Bates never scored again and the Scots collected the last ten points of the game.  Pretty amazing on both counts.

Ben Gaskill - An assist, rebound, layup, and free throw in closing minutes

Ben Gaskill, minus the beard, came up big at the end.  He started with an assist on a Brady Bajema three.  The next time Gordon had the ball they were clearly (with a seven point lead) into a hold-onto-the-ball mode.  You’re thinking that Aaron or Brady will get the shot as the 35-second clock runs out.  However, Ben ends up with the ball with everyone yelling for him to shoot.  He takes an off-balanced jump shot as the shot-clock buzzer sounds.  The defense seemed to freeze, hearing the buzzer, just for an instant.  Ben follows his shot, gets his own rebound, and puts in the layup and is fouled.  He makes the free throw and with 1:16 left, the ten-point lead (74-64) was a mountain Bates wasn’t going to climb in such a short time.

The stat sheet revealed plenty of goodies.  Brady reached a season-high in assists with eight.  The free throw shooting (13-for-14) was also a season high.  Greg Walker’s three blocks were a season high.

Aaron’s 25 points put him into a tie with Jon Marstaller (parents and sister were on hand at Bates) for 5th place on the all-time scoring list. 

Aaron and Brady were deadly shooting from anywhere.  How about a combined 11-for-11 from the foul line!

Brian Ellis (24 points) had the Bates offense run through him for much of the evening.  He was 10-for-15 and seemed like a bad matchup for the Scots no matter what sized Gordon player attempted to guard the 6’5” junior.

Ahead for Gordon is a trip to Springfield on Saturday to face Western New England (12-10/7-3).  As nice as it was to beat Bates, the matchup was nonleague.  The results of the last three games of the season (WNEC/UNE/Salve Regina) affect seeding in the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament.  I’d like to see three games played during tourney week at the Bennett Center.

When I looked earlier at the trio of road games, two of which we just played, I imagined weather issues being a factor.  Dry roads to New Hampshire, and now Maine, in February!  God is good!

The heating system in the Alumni Gym did not disappoint.  You just have to be prepared for it.  Every Bates student I saw in attendance was wearing a short-sleeved shirt.  The gym is 84 years old and has always given off a warm welcome, I’m told.

Box Score

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Filed under Bates, CCC Tournament, Colby-Sawyer, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Western New England

Gordon’s Thirteen Game Winning Streak Ends vs Colby-Sawyer

Dave Rosso - Hits four 3's for Colby-Sawyer

Jason Chevrefils - 19 points/2 steals

(New London NH) Let’s face it – we Gordon faithful were getting spoiled.  And who could blame us after over two months of win after win. 

And who would have expected our winning ways (thirteen straight) to end in New London (NH) where the Colby-Sawyer Chargers were coming off three straight losses?

However, the, “on any given night” reality bit the Scots (17-4/ 9-1) and they came out on the wrong end of a 74-63 score on Tuesday night in Commonwealth Coast Conference play.

Going undefeated in the CCC is now off the table.  What remains, though, over the last four games (Bates/Western New England/UNE/Salve Regina) of the season, is trying to gain the most favorable position possible in the postseason CCC eight-team tournament that starts on February 23rd.  Still sitting alone atop the current CCC standings (9-1), put the Scots in complete control of their destiny. 

Gordon did not play well enough to defeat Colby-Sawyer (12-10/5-5).  But those on hand will tell you that the Scots made a serious run late to steal this one but that mishandlings and misfirings kept the upset from happening.

One nearby Charger fan, was overheard to say during the game that, “this was the best I’ve seen them play,” referring to the home team.  No doubt, he was referencing C-S’s red-hot, long-range shooting (nine for eighteen) and their well-schemed half-court defense (twenty-one Gordon turnovers). 

An early Colby-Sawyer 8-2 deficit vanished as both of the Charger positives just mentioned kicked in and Gordon helplessly watched the scoreboard effects of first half C-S runs of twelve points and nine points that plunged them into a 37-28 hole.

Freshman Jason Chevrefils (19 points) gave the Scots nothing but trouble all night.  He got good low-block position time after time and knew how to score from there.  His jump hook, similar to Greg Walker’s, was never successfully defended. 

In the second half, Jason combined with long-ranger David Rosso (fourteen points on four 3’s) to do most of the damage as the Chargers ventured into laugher territory (64-49) with just 4:20 left in the game. 

It was easy to wonder at this point, why the Chargers could have lost to Regis, Curry, Roger Williams, Endicott, and Salve Regina.  However, over the next two minutes the Scots put up points – eight straight at one point – and the home team started turning the ball over in the backcourt and missing shots down the other end. 

Credit a “first-time-I’ve-seen-it” full-court trap, steal, or foul approach used by Gordon.  It worked for the next two minutes and things got a very interesting (65-59) when Aaron Trigg made his only three of the game. 

The last two minutes the Scots reverted to misfiring (1 for 6) and mishandling (3 turnovers) while C-S sealed the deal with seven of eight free throws.

The CCC’s top scorer, Jon Chaloux, collected ten points in the first half but Ben Gaskill limited him to only two more thereafter. 

Ben Gaskill - Grabs 13 rebounds and defends the CCC's top scorer

Ben had a game-high thirteen rebounds along with a hard foul on breaking away Jason Chevrefils attempting a layup.  Ben got the ball but plenty of Jason along with it.

Dunks are unusual for Gordon and Greg Walker had one in the second half on a breakaway. 

C-S did a great job on the perimeter containing Brady Bajema (11 points – 3 for 10) and Aaron (14 points – 5 for 13).  Aaron has gone three-for-fifteen from long range over the last three games.

Bates is next in Lewiston at 7PM on Thursday.  This is a nonleague game so the minutes of Aaron, Ben, and Brady may be impacted especially with a visit to Western New England in CCC action looming on Saturday.  The need to secure home-court advantage during the remaining four games, including Bates, should be the top priority.

Another top priority at Bates is trying to keep cool in the gymnasium; at least it was two years ago.  The ancient structure had an equally ancient heating system that puts out heat in a fashion that has spectators wondering how much of their clothing they can take off without being arrested. 

More seriously, Bates has won five straight.  We managed to defeat them for the first time ever last February at the Bennett Center thanks to a season-high, 20-point run in the second half. 

Box Score

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Filed under Bates, Colby-Sawyer, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10

Gordon Seniors Lead Scots Past Endicott for 11th Straight

Aaron Trigg (26 points) puts some free throw icing on Gordon's victory cake as the Endicott cheering section looks on.

(Beverly) Gordon 64 Endicott 55

That’s three straight at Endicott and this time it didn’t take a long-range prayer to do the trick, as it had required in the previous two matchups at Beverly.

What is took, was a collection of Gordon senior moments over the last 2:41 that turned into a tie-breaking, game-winning 12-3 run.

Gordon (15-3/7-0) has now won eleven straight.  Next is Regis at home on Wednesday night (8PM).  The Pride (8-11/4-3) has lost three straight but have a win in January over Colby-Sawyer.  Not to be taken lightly!

The crowd was incredible on both sides (estimated at over 1200) and loud music wasn’t required to simulate noise, which is the way it should be.

The win by Gordon avenged a 71-68 loss at the Bennett Center in early December.  In that one, the Scots trailed early, rallied all the way back from a 17-point deficit to tie, and then couldn’t finish the job in the last 1:10.

This time around the Scots once again trailed early (27-13) after six minutes, battled all the way back taking their first lead (43-42) after nine minutes of the second half on two David Dempsey free throws.  The teams traded baskets until Bobby Montrond notched two free throws to tie things with 2:41 to go. 

Aaron Trigg - nine points in crunch time

After that………..it was one Gordon wonderful senior moment after another carrying the Scots to the win.  Aaron Trigg (26 points) collected nine straight points from every location – three free throws, two layups, and a three.  Ben Gaskill (7 points/11 rebounds) had a steal and a block.  Jeff Derr (9 points/12 rebounds) had an assist and a rebound.  Brady Bajema (9 points/3 assists) had an assist and two free throws. 

No wonder the Gordon crowd was chanting, “It’s all over,” as the game-clock wound down with the Scot lead getting larger and larger after each possession.

Endicott (8-10/3-4) seemed convinced that they could win this game from long range despite the accumulating stats indicating otherwise.  The Gulls were 3-for-16 from downtown in the first half and added 2-for-10 onto that in the second half.  In fact, in the second half they went eighteen minutes between made 3’s.  You can live by the three’s and, well you know the rest – Lance Greene (1-7), Aaron Karkow (1-6) and Kevin McGuire (0-3).

Justin Martin (10 points) kept Endicott close late in the game.

I came away impressed with the play of Justin Martin (6-8 junior).  He led the Gulls with ten points and had eight of them in the second half in a row when the outcome was in the balance and his teammates put away the 3-ball.  Probably more impressive was the job he did on Greg Walker (13.2 ppg).  He muscled Greg away from his comfort spots in close to the basket and held him to just three points.

But Gordon had other players pick up the scoring slack.  David Dempsey had all of his ten points in the second half.  Add Endicott to the list of teams trying to cover him with a smaller player and paying the price.

Jeff matched a career high in rebounds (12).  Last time?  A blowout win versus Wheelock when he was a sophomore. 

I was not surprised when Timmy MacDonnell got the “Goggles” chant from the Endicott side.  At Colby-Sawyer, someone yelled, “Hey 33, the pool is down the hall.” 

During this game, however, Ben got the, “Shave your moustache,” chant which not everyone would disagree with. 

Coach Tod Murphy signs during warmups.

During warm-ups, I had a file for the never-seen-that-before drawer, as Coach Tod Murphy signed autographs for Endicott students in front of the team bench.

A conspiracy theorist from Kansas noted that Endicott opted to use the bench that Gordon normally uses.  Why?  So, according to the theorist, any last-minute 3’s that Gordon attempted (they won the last two years on such shots) would be taken from in front of the Gull cheering section. 

However, by switching benches the Gull team ended up in front of the vociferous Gordon cheering section that really turned up the volume during timeouts.  Maybe next time Endicott will relocate their cheering section.

Another significant second half plus was rebounding.  Close in the first half (21-19) but the Scots turned dominating (26-14) in the second half.  It sure helps when both Ben and Jeff reach double figures.

Another noticeable stat was free throws.  Gordon usually shoots from the outside unless Greg is open inside. In this game, though, a tight exterior Endicott defense forced Gordon players to create their own openings – there were only nine assists.  The result was foul after foul by the Gulls and Gordon getting into the bonus early. The Scots took full advantage connecting on 27 of 32.  

Brady Bajema - 994 career points.....and counting

The Brady 1000-point watch is now at 994.  Another reason to show up at the Bennett Center on Wednesday night for the Regis game.

Box Score

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Filed under Endicott, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Regis, Tod Murphy

Composure and Season-High Stats Send Scots Past Anna Maria

Aaron Trigg (23 points) launches one of his sixteen free throw attempts vs Anna Maria

(Leicester) Can you defend without fouling?

In the case of Anna Maria (6-7/1-1) – No!  And after 26 fouls sent Gordon (9-3/2-0) to the line for 37 free throws, the Amcats were on the wrong side of a 72-64, final score in a Commonwealth Coast Conference game played at Becker College on Tuesday night.

Certainly all the fouling was a negative for AM (GC got 29 points at the line) but their ability from long range (10-of-23) kept things interesting for quite a while.  They launched shots from downtown Leicester and a couple buzzer-beaters from neighboring Worcester!

With 9:50 left, a Chris Pinsonault (15 points/4 assists) layup put AM within one, 45-44, and the final outcome unknown.

In the next 4+ minutes Gordon won this one, as AM had a total meltdown while the Scots forced turnovers (three), made free throws (six), and tallied sixteen points.

For its part, Anna Maria collected four points and lost their composure getting assessed a hard foul (Chris Pinsonault on Aaron Trigg) and a technical foul (on Anthony Click). 

After the 4+ minutes ended, the Scots had a 61-48 lead and added nine free throws the rest of the way for the victory.

Both Ben Gaskill (16 points/10 rebounds) and Aaron Trigg (23 points) reached season-highs in points.  In fact, for Ben it was a career high.  (I am not so sure about two of Ben’s points, however.  There was a basket in the first half on a rebound that I thought belonged to Jeff, although the public address announcer said Dave Dempsey scored it but the scorekeeper gave to Ben.  Where’s instant replay when you need it??)

The Scots are now 9-3, which is exactly where they were last year after a win over Anna Maria on 1/13/09. 

On Saturday, the team faces Eastern Nazarene in Quincy.  It would be a very good idea to forget the 81-59 win earlier in the season at the Bennett Center over ENC.  Recently ENC defeated Endicott and barely lost to Wentworth.  They have their own version of The Pit.

Freshman Anthong Click (#1) had ten points and five blocks for Anna Maria.

Gordon’s top three scorers (Brady/Aaron/Greg Walker) hit just 9-of-32, yet the team still won.  AM had some shot blockers (Anthony Click – five blocks) to impact inside attempts. 

I continue to be impressed with the way the Scots handle fullcourt pressure.  The dribble turnovers and dangerous passes have decreased significantly, in fact in this game Gordon actually attacked the press turning up some open shots.

A couple of terrific assists of note.  JT Himmelstein played just two minutes but found Ben for a layup late in the first half.  In the second half, Tim MacDonnell made a nice pass down the lane for a Greg Walker layup during the game-deciding segment.

I will be very interested to see how Anna Maria does at home on Saturday against Colby-Sawyer.  I think that the Amcats will beat some good CCC teams before the season is over.  Composure in general but especially on defense is all that will separate them from making the CCC tournament later in February in my opinion.

Box Score

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Filed under Anna Maria, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10

Defense and Bench Trio Important in Gordon Win Over Wentworth in CCC Opener

Jeff Derr (sinking free throw) scored twelve points off the bench vs Wentworth

(Wenham) Efficient defense and strong contributions from the bench sent Gordon (8-3/1-0) to victory over Wentworth (4-7/0-1), 57-49, on Saturday afternoon at the student-less Bennett Center.

This was the first Commonwealth Coast Conference league game for each team.  The Scots next travel to Anna Maria on Tuesday for an 8PM matchup with the Amcats.

The Leopards had 6’11” Sam Herrick inside but Ben Gaskill (6’9”) did a remarkable job limiting Sam to seven points on 2-for-10 shooting. 

The other Gordon defenders weren’t too shabby either and had a part in Wentworth missing forty-three shots overall and shooting just 29.5% for the game.

The Scots didn’t shoot all that well in the second half but the first half was a different story – 13-for-23 (56.5%).

The game-deciding stretch saw Gordon face an 11-8 deficit at the 12-minute mark and turn it into a 28-16 advantage at 4:45 of the half.  In a game where the Scots made a season-low four 3-pointers, they connected on three of them (Jeff Derr/Brady Bajema/Tim MacDonnell) during this decisive segment.

The contributions off the bench of Jeff, Tim, and Dave Dempsey were huge on both ends of the court.  They usually help defensively but on this afternoon, they combined for 7-of-13 and 24 points.  Pretty important when the team tallies just 57 points in the game. Jeff’s twelve and Tim’s seven were season highs for them.

The Leopards had an 8-point run early in the second half to close to 38-29 with old-fashioned and new-fashioned three’s by Jack Barrett in there.  Jeff and Tim returned the Gordon lead to double-digits (34-29 with 13 minutes left).  The spread was still substantial (53-37) with two minutes left.  Wentworth put up 12 points the rest of the way but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome.

I have to admit that the second half (with both teams shooting poorly and Gordon turning the ball over eleven times) was painful to watch.  However, the most exciting play of the season happened during that half.  You know that Gordon fastbreaks are rare – we’re not a track team!  However, after an Aaron Trigg steal, off to the races the team went.  Brady headed to the basket on the right side and spotted Ben Gaskill going fullspeed at the top of the key.  A quick handoff to Ben and he sailed in for a dunk.  The crowd, what there was of it, loved it. 

That dunk gave Gordon its biggest lead of the game (38-21) but instead of igniting the offense, the Scots went the next five minutes without scoring and collected four straight turnovers to go with four missed shots.  But in a game where the opponent never seemed to produce consistent offense, the Scot’s erratic second half wasn’t costly.

Ben led everyone with 12 rebounds.  When you combine that with his neutralizing of the other team’s top scorer (Sam Herrick – 11.8ppg), you sense the senior’s value to the 2009-10 team.

Brady missed last year's OT loss at Wentworth.

This win lessens my recall of last year’s overtime loss in the league opener at Wentworth.  In that one Gordon played without Brady and was out-rebounded by ten.  This time around, Brady was available and the rebound margin was lowered to three.

I saw Mike Schnackenberg and Jon Marstaller in the house as well as the parents from away (Kansas/Ohio/Illinois). 

The next home game is in two weeks versus Curry. 

This was the first game (in 7+ years) that my usual seat behind the team benches wasn’t available.  Number me among those who aren’t all that thrilled with hope and change!

Hey, where'd my seat go??


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Filed under Anna Maria, Curry, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Wentworth