Tag Archives: Steve Vampatella

Gordon College graduation 2018

(Wenham MA) Five players connected to the Gordon College men’s basketball program graduated today; Jaren Yang, Dylan Marshall, Graham Tienhaara, Jake Hart, and Steve Vampatella.

Jake Hart

Graham Tienhaara

Steve Vampatella

Jaren Yang

Dylan Marshall

For those just now paying attention, my wife and I do all we can to attend Gordon graduations.  Why?  We get attached to the players (and their families) and want to get one more look at them on campus.  Some will come back next season to see how their former teammates are doing.  Others will move away and move on, rarely seen again.

The weather was set to be an issue today.  The forecasts during the week had rain falling on Saturday morning.  If that happened, then the event would have been in the limited-space Bennett Center.  I wasn’t even sure if we could get in!

But God is gracious.  I looked on the Gordon website last night and the graduation time was moved up to 9:30 and it would be held outdoors rain or shine.  I shuttered to imagine a graduation in the rain.  My camera was totally against it!

Sky above at the Gordon Commencement today

But I got up this morning and saw that the rain had been “shifted” to the afternoon.  God was in the details and gave us sun for the event.  I noticed something special about the clouds over the campus today.

Plenty of beautiful trees on campus

We love to see the flowering trees on campus.  They always seem to be at their peak in mid-May.  I know that God provides the sun and the rain but the maintenance crew was really on their game too.

Our goal at these graduations is to get as many pictures as possible of “our” players in different graduation spots.  We also look for the unexpected people, that we know, that happen to be on hand.

They’ve probably done this before, but I liked hearing the faculty applaud the students when they marched by them at the start and later when the students reciprocated as the faculty filed out at the end of commencement.

Three people (Kenneth Elzinga, Richard Stearns, Polly Wilson) received honorary degrees.

Richard came up with a wonderful line: “God doesn’t want us to be successful, He wants us to be faithful.”

I have known Polly Wilson for a long time.  As kids we were both on the Rumney (NH) Bible Conference grounds for a lot of summers. She was a talented piano player even then.  I was keen on ping pong.

At the commencement I took pictures of three caps.  One of them had Phil 4:13 (I can do all this through him who gives me strength.) on it.  One of the teachers-to-be had “Now it’s my time to teach.”  And then there was Jaren’s.

I saw Gordon coach Tod Murphy afterwards and asked him if had found players to replace the graduated ones.  He told me that he had two 6-4 players coming as well as a point guard.

Jake Haar, Noah Szilagyi, Luke Meyer, Garrisson Duvivier

Good to see four seniors-to-be, from the team, on hand cheering on their graduating teammates.  Some of them will be on the Gordon Quadrangle next year, about this time, wondering where their four years have gone.

Good luck to the five seniors.  We hope to see them again.

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

Graham and friend

Jaren and Julie

Jaren meets President Lindsay

Jake Hart and Julie

Julie and Val Gin

Teachers applaud students

Ivy George

David Rox

President Michael Lindsay

Susan Bobb is the Junior Distinguished Faculty award winner

Gordon graduate

Julie with Donna Loy

The Yangs

With Jerry Logan, a remarkable guard back in the day

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Gordon holds off Western New England 84-77 on Senior Day

Gordon seniors and their families

Eric Demers (41 points) reached a new career high in points

(Wenham MA) Don’t let that final score fool you.

Western New England led by a point (74-73) with 2:38 left in this game. The outcome was anything but certain.

But the Scots (14-7) were offensively efficient down the stretch and posted a, 84-77, win on Saturday afternoon at the Bennett Center.

Special day for the Gordon faithful as the Scots four seniors (Jaren Yang, Steve Vampatella, Jake Hart, and Graham Tienhaara) were honored.

Traditionally, the Gordon seniors start on Senior Day.  That put first-time starters Steven Vampatella and Graham Tienhaara out there to open the game.

The senior foursome plus Eric Demers got off to a terrific start.  “I thought that Gordon came out with terrific energy,” said Western New England coach Colin Tabb afterwards.

Graham Tienhaara spins left for two in the early going.

By the time Graham Tienhaara went to the bench, he had six points and Gordon had a seven-point lead.  “Graham got us off to a great start,” said Gordon coach Tod Murphy.

Behind Eric Demers’ twenty-point first half the Scots were ahead, 48-38, at halftime.

Sixteen days ago, the Golden Bears (8-12) routed the Scots, 101-83, in Springfield so you had to expect that they would make things interesting in the second half.  And they did.

Mikey Pettway had thirty-one points and scored his 1000th point in the previous meeting.  This time around Mikey was off (13 points) but freshman EJ Day (28 points) more than made up for it.

“EJ Day is going to be a load to go against over the next three years,” said Coach Murphy.  EJ, like Mikey, displayed the ability to get shots off from anywhere despite being 5-10.  EJ made three’s and showed his quickness getting to the rim.

Freshman EJ Day (28 points) carried the Bears

Gordon led by sixteen (60-44) with 16:44 left.  But WNE didn’t go away.  Over the next 6+ minutes they overwhelmed the cooled off Scots.

An 18-2 run evened the teams at 62-62.  We had ourselves a ballgame!

What happened during that stretch?  Gordon made one of nine shots, including five three’s, and had three turnovers.  Then there’s Western New England: The Bears made seven of thirteen shots, with three of those seven baskets coming after they had grabbed offensive rebounds.

Gordon recovered to regain the lead but could never push their margin past three points.  Finally the Bears caught GC and went ahead (74-73) with 2:38 left on two EJ Day free throws.

Jaren Yang made pressure free throws late in the game

The rest of the way: “We made the plays we had to,” said Coach Murphy.  Eric Demers immediately made a three to give GC the lead for good as it turned out.  But there was also a key layup by Garrisson Duvivier in the last minute assisted by Jaren Yang.  Free throws were crucial and Jaren, Eric Demers, and Jake Hart made them.  Actually, Jake missed one but miraculously the ball stopped dead on the back of the rim with fifteen seconds left.  That’s a jump ball and the possession arrow favored the Scots. So Jake’s missed shot gave Gordon a fresh possession.

Eric Demers put up a career-high forty-one points with twenty in the first half and twenty-one in the second half.  In this breakout season, Eric has been able to get off shots against defenders of all sizes and speeds and shoot over 50% in twelve of the games.

Junior Garrisson Duvivier had his 15th double/double of this season.  He had sixteen points and fifteen rebounds.

Ahead is a neighborhood battle with Endicott on Wednesday night (7:30PM) in Beverly.  The winner of that game will be in second place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference behind Nichols.  In the previous Gulls/Scots matchup it was GC winning in overtime.  Realizing how hostile the atmosphere can be at Endicott, it would behoove the Scots to defeat the Gulls and avoid having to play a tournament game in Beverly.

Mikey Pettway (13 points) drives against Garrisson Duvivier

Two concerns in this game (for me) were the squandered lead and the twenty turnovers.  Players not named Eric and Garrisson need to lighten the scoring load on those two to prevent point-droughts when either of them cool off.  This afternoon’s twenty TO’s was the third time it has been that high.  The other two times were losses.  The Bears’ pressure had no part in the turnovers.  It was the passing.  Too many high-risk attempts.

Nice gathering afterward to hear the coaches retell the exploits of the four seniors.  The players will be missed.

Three weeks from now I could be writing about Gordon’s third CCC title in the last eight years.  Hope so.

Jaren Yang collected his 4th career block this afternoon for those keeping track at home!

“I was hoping to get Steve and Graham back into the game at the end, but it was so close,” said Coach Murphy.

Battle for a rebound – Garrisson had 15 rebounds vs Western New England

“Gordon took us out of the normal flow of our offense today,” said Coach Tabb.  “They didn’t leave certain shooters and it kept us from getting clean looks.”

“Good teams have to win tough games like this one,” said Coach Murphy.

Gordon has won ten of their last twelve games.

Gordon has now won nine of their last ten games with Western New England.

Western New England had a win over top-ranked Nichols at Nichols in early January.  They meet again in Springfield next Saturday.

Efficiency

Eric Demers 30

Garrisson Duvivier 28

EJ Day 23 (28 points)

Tim Reilly 17 (15 points)

Gordon 95

Western New England 70

Box from the game

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

Jaren Yang with parents

Jake Hart and family

Graham Tienhaara and family

Steve Vampatella and family

Coach Tod Murphy talks about his four seniors

Eric Demers layup with senior Steve Vampatella in the background

Jake Hart

Garrisson Duvivier (16 points) puts up a shot

Jaren Yang shoots a technical foul shot

Tim Reilly (15 points) contests an Eric Demers’ layup attempt

Two of the CCC’s best go head-to-head

Eric Demers makes a tough shot late in the game

 

 

 

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