Tag Archives: Wentworth

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

Game #11 – Gordon Falters Down the Stretch in Wentworth OT Loss

(Boston) Gordon squandered an 8-point lead in regulation with 2:10 to go and a 2-point lead with 2.4 seconds to go in regulation and then fell in overtime to Wentworth, 73-70, on Saturday afternoon.

No way to open the Commonwealth Coast Conference season.  Now 0-1 in the season that counts the Scots (8-3 overall) will need to regroup Tuesday night on the road at Anna Maria in Paxton.

Brady Bajema (6-2 junior Whitinsville MA)

Brady Bajema (6-2 junior Whitinsville MA)

If there ever was a game that got away it was this one.  It sure didn’t help that the Scots were minus Brady Bajema for the second straight game.  Coach Schauer told me before the game that Brady was in the hospital.  I had learned earlier that he had a knee infection.  After the game, Coach Schauer told me that Brady should be back.  He didn’t say when.

Minus Brady’s 12 points per game, the struggle in this one was scoring points.  Things really got dicey in the overtime when Greg Walker fouled out with 2 ½ minutes left in OT and later Aaron Trigg departed for the same reason with 47 seconds left.  The Scots trailed by just two, 71-69, when Aaron left.  Those who know this team can see that the top three scorers on the team were unavailable in the last 47 seconds. 

The way those last 47 seconds played out went something like this: Austin Bentson made one of two free throws and Brendan Monteiro followed with two of two putting the Leopards ahead 73-70 with 35 seconds left.  The Scots needed a three and they launched three of them (Timmy MacDonnell, Jeff Derr, and David Flight) but came up empty.

The travesty for Gordon was that this game got to overtime.  Wentworth ran six straight to get up 49-45 with 8 ½ left in the game.  Then the Leopards went six possessions getting three turnovers and three misses.  Meanwhile the Scots made baskets on five of their six possessions to run ten straight points to lead, 55-49, with 3:46 remaining.  The last basket in this sequence had Aaron penetrating down the lane finding extra coverage and feeding Ben Gaskill for a layup.  Pretty play. 

Later it was a pass from Greg Walker that resulted in another Ben Gaskill layup and gave Gordon the 61-53 advantage with 2:10 left.  If you were there, you would have thought that the Scots had this one wrapped up.  Sorry, you would have thought wrong. 

To lose a lead of that sort you have to turn the ball over.  The Scots did that on the next three possessions (TMac, Aaron, Austin).  And then you have to miss free throws.  The Scots did that on the next two possessions.  Both Austin and Greg missed the front end of one-and-one’s. 

In the meantime, Wentworth, sensing they still had a chance, came all the way back with eight straight points to tie at 61 with 20 seconds left.  The Scots still were in good shape, however, since they could put the ball in the hands of the CCC’s #2 scorer, Aaron.  He did his thing dribbling and eating the clock before heading into the lane and drawing a foul with 2.4 seconds to go.
Scots gather around Coach Mike Schauer during last minute of regulation at Wentworth.

Scots gather around Coach Mike Schauer during last minute of regulation at Wentworth.

After a timeout, Aaron went to the foul line, calmly swished the first one, and rattled the second one in to give Gordon a 2-point lead.  Before any of us could get started celebrating, Wentworth’s Shane West had taken the ball out of bounds and thrown a full-court pass.  Not a very high percentage play, for sure, but when Ben Gaskill, who was playing in back of Matt Abbott,  jumped in front of him when the ball was in the air, disaster struck.  The ball was thrown just high enough to get over 6-9 Ben and into the hands of Matt Abbott.  He went in alone for the game-tying layup at the buzzer.  It reminded me of that Southwest Airlines ad, “You wanta get away?”  May it long be remembered that no one person ever loses a team game!

Aaron Trigg (6-1 junior Overland Park KS)

Aaron Trigg (6-1 junior Overland Park KS)

The overtime loss negated a remarkable double/double turned in by Aaron.  When was the last time you remember someone scoring double figures (24 points) and handing out double-digit (12) assists.  Usually you get one or the other.  Most double/doubles involve points and rebounds. 

One of the best matchups was Aaron against another All-Conference guard (senior Todd Doyle).  Both got their points – Todd had 23 and is the CCC’s third highest scorer.  Both are tireless defenders.

I was impressed with the Wentworth big men – Shane West and Matt Abbott.  There were some turnovers (nine between them) but there were numerous setups inside that produced layups.  And also, of course, was the pass from Shane to Matt that gave Wentworth a chance to win in overtime.

TMac got the start for Brady and logged 38 minutes.  Not surprisingly, he dove out of bounds chasing a ball and later required medical attention. 

Wentworth (4-9)  is still on break.  The crowd was small but Tansey Gym is one in which sound seems louder.  The place was rocking as Wentworth pulled even and later won the game. 

After the road game with Anna Maria, the Scots return to the Bennett Center on Saturday (January 17th) for an afternoon contest with Eastern Nazarene.  Make plans accordingly.

Box Score

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Filed under Gordon College Men's Basketball 2008-09, Wentworth

Gordon Overcomes Slow Start to Defeat Wentworth – Game #12

(Wenham) There was plenty to like in this one as Gordon (10-2) won its second Commonwealth Coast Conference game defeating Wentworth, 81-67, at the Bennett Center on Saturday afternoon before a pretty good school’s-not-in-session crowd.

Understand Wentworth’s quality.  They won the CCC tournament last year and had a good portion of that team back including last season’s CCC MVP Sherrad Prezzie-Blue.  In a preseason vote this year, the CCC coaches predicted that Wentworth was the team to beat this season.

Start a game against a fine team like that with four missed shots and four turnovers in the first five minutes and you should be in some serious trouble.  Well, your Scots did that and trailed, 10-0.

“I thought that the game turned on a couple of plays,” said Gordon Coach Mike Schauer afterwards.  One was Jeff Derr (sophomore-6′8″-Barrington IL)’s minutes early when he scored (Gordon’s first basket) and seemed to settle us down a little bit.”

Once settled the Scots began the long climb back.  A collection of eight unanswered points early in the second half put Gordon in front for the first time, 39-38, with 18:25 left.  A couple of lead changes followed before an old-fashioned three by Aaron Trigg (sophomore-6′1″-Overland Park KS) put the Scots ahead to stay, 49-46, with less than 13 minutes to go.

Later a six point run, highlighted by a steal on an inbounds play by hustling Tim MacDonnell (sophomore-6′2″-Jericho VT) pushed the spread to eight (60-52) with nine minutes left.  “Tim MacDonnell’s play was pivotal,” said Coach Schauer.  “It felt to me then as if we were starting to get some control.”

If Tim’s steal didn’t seal the deal Brady Bajema (sophomore-6′2″-Whitinsville MA)’s end-of-the-35-second-clock three did that for Gordon.  The trey from the right corner extended the lead to 12 (68-56) with 2 ½ left.  A run of 10 straight successful free throws kept the Leopards from getting into any sort of last minute comebacks as they did last year in the CCC tournament disaster (for Gordon) in February in the same gym.

I wrote earlier that there was plenty to like in this one.  So far we’ve got things like; beating arguably the best team in the conference and coming back strong after a very slow start to win going away.  I suppose I should mention that Aaron Trigg had 32 points including 25 points in the second half.  You read that right.  This kid was so hot there were smoke detectors at the Bennett Center getting ready to do what they do!

“(Aaron) Trigg had a wonderful performance,” explained Wentworth Coach Tom Devitt.  “He’s going to be a tremendous player for them, in fact already is.  It’s one thing for a big man inside to score a lot of points but when you do it from the perimeter it’s special.”

Coach Schauer added, “We have watched Aaron ascend into being a star.”

Aaron’s remarkable performance included six very difficult drives to the basket in shot-blocker territory.  It works for Aaron because not only is he very quick but he also is unselfish and will lay off to someone else for a layup if a new defender shows up – note the four assists. 

I have been around Coach Schauer long enough to know that in this game Aaron’s 32 points wouldn’t be all that he would want to talk to me afterward about.  Seeing Sherrad Prezzie-Blue with only three points on the stat sheet tipped me off.  Please recall that Sherrad was the MVP in the CCC last season and deserved it especially after he took the Leopards to the tournament title last season.  This season the senior guard has started strong with a nifty 19.9 scoring average.

In this game he had to spend 38 minutes in close company with Justin Kaufman (senior-5′11″-Redding CT).  Shut down is putting it mildly as Sherrad hit a three in the first half and that was it for the entire game.  “I don’t think that Sherrad has ever been in a situation where he has been held to three points,” recalled Coach Devitt.

Coach Schauer continued his (pet peeve?) that people spend too much time looking at scoring stats and don’t notice what a player such as Justin contributes.  “In my world what Justin did was more impressive than what Aaron did and that’s not to take anything away from Aaron.  There are guys who can score a lot of points but not a lot of guys who are willing to embrace the idea that for 40 minutes you’re going to guard the best player in our league. Justin is having a great year.” 

The loss was frustrating for Wentworth because of the fluctuation in team effort.  “We want to out-effort the other team because that will win you games no matter who you play,” said Coach Devitt.  “In this one we played about 27 minutes.  I can’t understand how a team that holds Gordon scoreless for five minutes to start the game can give up 50 points in the second half.”

Wentworth (6-5) was led in scoring by impressive big man Shane West (17) and Todd Doyle (16).

For Gordon the top scorers were Aaron (32), Jon Marstaller (senior-6′5″-Naples ME) (13), and Brady Bajema (13).

Next game for the Scots will be against high scoring Anna Maria on Tuesday night (8PM) at the Bennett Center.  The Leopards will host ENC on the same night.

Boxscore Wentworth 1-12-08

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2007-08, Wentworth

(Game #23 – Wentworth) Joe Witherspoon Leads Gordon Past Wentworth

By Peter McClelland

(Boston) – “And while you’re at it, Joe, could you drive the bus home?”

“I told the coaches afterwards,” said Gordon coach Mike Schauer, “that we lose this game if we don’t have him (Joe Witherspoon) wearing #34 for us.”

The Scots certainly needed Joe’s performance (28 points) to get by the stubborn Wentworth Leopards, 66-50, in Commonwealth Coast Conference play on Saturday afternoon. 

The win moves Gordon to 18-5 overall and 11-3 in the CCC.  Wentworth drops to 4-17 and 2-11 in the CCC.

“In this one we literally became like an NBA team,” explained coach Schauer.  “We just dumped the ball into the post and stood around and watched him (Joe).   And fortunately he made enough plays to let us win.”

The final score might suggest an easy win but that wasn’t the way it was.  Both teams had hot and cold streaks in this game.  Early the Scots went down 11-5 only to surge ahead 16-11.  Then it was Wentworth’s turn as they went up 27-20 only to allow the Scots to rally back 30-27.  The score at halftime had Gordon leading 37-32 but this one was far from over.

Eight minutes into the second half Wentworth had rallied to tie the score at 48 on the strength of a couple of free throws by Nick Stewart.

“Too bad they didn’t stop the game shortly after that,” said Wentworth coach Harry McShane afterwards. 

Those last eight minutes were a nightmare for the home team.  Wentworth had only two free throws to show for it.  In fact, they didn’t make a field goal during the last 12 minutes.  “We just didn’t make shots,” said coach McShane.  “At times we settled for the quick shot when we needed to be more patient.”

Meanwhile, Joe Witherspoon carried Gordon to victory.  First it was a 3-point play the hard way.  Then it was two free throws.  Next trip, in the prettiest play of the game, he gracefully guided Hayes Murray’s missed three back in.  This put Gordon up by seven (55-48) with four minutes left and then the only uncertainty was the final score.

“We were conscious that their strength is perimeter shooting and we tried to negate that as much as possible,” said coach McShane.  “Anytime you can hold (Scott) Beebe to two points and (Hayes) Murray to one point you think you’re in pretty good shape. But they’ve got other guys who can hurt you and it was (Joe) Witherspoon in this one.”

Gordon used a man-to-man defense early but switched to a zone when Wentworth got off to its fast start.  Later in the second half it was more man-to-man defense and that second half defense contributed to the Leopard’s poor shooting when the game was on the line.  “It made me happy,” said coach Schauer, “to see us play that defense better after the way it went against Anna Maria and early in this game.

Joe wasn’t the only one to play well inside for Gordon.  “Alex Yeats continues to contribute,” said coach Schauer.   The 6’6” freshman tallied 8 points in close on 4 for 7 shooting.  And for the second game in a row he’s shown that he can make a short jumper.

Elliott Blackstone was the other Scot in double figures with ten points.  He was perfect from the field (3 for 3) and the line (4 for 4).

Wentworth’s top scorer was Nick Stewart (14) followed by Earl Faulk (11).

Next up for Gordon is a trip to Biddeford, Maine on Thursday evening to face the UNE Nor’Easters in the last regular season away game.

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2002-03, Wentworth

(Game #11 – Wentworth) Beebe Held in Check but Offense Found Elsewhere for 3rd Straight CCC Win

By Peter McClelland

(Wenham) – Wentworth held Scott Beebe to 7 points (he averages 20) but that didn’t stop Gordon from defeating the Leopards, 76-56, at the Bennett Center on Thursday night in Commonwealth Coast Conference action. 

The win puts the Scots at 3-0 in CCC play and 9-2 overall.  Wentworth falls to 0-2 in the CCC and 2-6 overall.

“We were aware of him (Scott Beebe) but you just can’t key on him because others will hurt you,” explained Wentworth coach Harry McShane afterwards.  “They’ve got other guys that are all-conference caliber.”

The spark was junior Ryan Smith.  He drilled four 3-pointers in the first half enabling Gordon to build up a 15-point lead (38-23) that the Leopards could never cut into in the second half.  “He made so many big shots in that first half,” agreed Gordon coach Mike Schauer.  “His performance should send out the message that we’re a whole lot more than one kid making shots.”  Ryan came into the game averaging 5 points but ended up with 17 in this one.

The Scots got an impressive game from Josh Sylvester as well.  The talented senior had a double/double (11 points/11 rebounds) to go with 6 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals.  “Josh was forced to play the entire second half because we were in such terrible foul trouble,” added coach Schauer.

If Ryan was the spark in the first half it was a back-breaking 13-0 run, starting the second half, that gave Gordon its biggest lead of the night (51-23) four minutes into it and put this one out of reach.  First play of the second half Josh Sylvester ran a backdoor cut and Scott Beebe found him for a basket and a foul shot. 

The Leopards could be seeing those backdoor cuts in their sleep judging by the number of times that play worked successfully for the Scots.  “We like to deny the wings,” explained coach McShane.  “They cleared out and got guys to the rim.  It turned out to be a problem.”

Coach Schauer admitted that this was his most satisfying win so far.  Why?  “They did an unbelievable job on Scott.  That (Chris) Yost is a phenomenal defender.  But Scott and the rest of the team were very patient and we found offense elsewhere.  I was also happy to see us match the intensity of a team that was playing really, really hard.”

Gordon abandoned their man-to-man defense in the last five minutes opting to employ a match-up zone that had worked so well against Curry last Saturday.  “It was assistant coach (Travis) Senik’s idea,” said coach Schauer.  “We were in such foul trouble and they were getting a rhythm against our man-to-man.  It was a good idea.”

Coach McShane had high praise for Gordon.  “They’ve done a great job so far.  They’re light years from where they have been in the past and are playing with a lot of confidence right now.”  Asked how he would prepare for his second meeting with Gordon (February 15th) he joked, “I would say a couple of extra prayers.”

Joe Witherspoon paced all scorers with 19 (and 8 rebounds) and Hayes Murray added 10.

Freshman Kyle Shaw (“This was his best game” – McShane) led the Leopards with 17 while defensive whiz Chris Yost totaled 16.

Gordon travels to Newport (Rhode Island) on Saturday to take on tough Salve Regina in CCC action.

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2002-03, Wentworth