(Byfield MA) “I told the team that tonight was not going to be about anybody but the seniors,” explained Governor’s Academy coach Michael Shelton afterwards.
And that’s the way it went.
The four Govs seniors were honored before the game, then started the game, and later finished it.
“Coach told us in the second half,” said senior John Gargol, “that we started it and we’re going to end it.”
Governor’s (17-8) held off fast-closing Nobles, 53-48, on Wednesday night to give the evening a perfect ending.
One more game on the Gov’s schedule before they start the Class B tournament next Wednesday.
Despite differing lineups, the Govs applied effective pressure against the Bulldogs (10-13).
Governor’s “run-and-jump stuff,” as Coach Shelton called it, helped turn a 10-9 Nobles lead into a 21-10 Govs’ lead five minutes later.
Senior Eljay Morris was the chief contributor with six points in the 12-straight Govs points, including a crowd-pleasing dunk on an assist from Drew Sachs.
“They did a good job with their pressure defense,” said Nobles coach Adam Cluff post-game. “They were relentless and very disciplined with it.”
Nobles (10-13) rallied in the last 1 ½ minutes of the half (3 by Brendan McNamara, jump shot Duke Ferrara) and only trailed, 28-21.
The Govs dominated the first eight minutes of the second half. Six different players contributed points with senior Jason Mahoney nailing a 3-pointer. Defensively? Even better, as they limited the team from Dedham (MA) to only a triple by Channing Bryant (11 points).
The Govs lead increased to 49-29 with 5 ½ minutes left.
There wasn’t enough time for the Bulldogs to catch the bench-clearing Govs but they certainly finished with a rush and that pleased Coach Cluff.
“We decided that no matter what happened we were going to be resilient,” said Coach Cluff. “We ended up going with a smaller lineup and it gave us a little more flexibility against their full-court pressure.”
Nobles made shots and forced the Govs into mistakes (four turnovers) and closed the game on a 19-4 run but lost, 53-48.
Brett Cosby (10 points) and Channing Bryant (11 points) each contributed 3-pointers and layups in Nobles late run of good basketball.
Governor’s has a five-game win streak going and will start Class B tournament play next Wednesday.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” said Coach Shelton. “Our young guys have bought into our principles and our daily habits. On Saturday (against St. Sebastian’s) we had a season-high twenty assists. We’re really sharing the ball and defending at a really high level.”
The team-to-beat in Class B would be undefeated Brooks. “We were close against them on the road and they went on a big run to end the half,” said Coach Shelton. “It was a tough game for our young guys. We look forward to seeing them in the tournament.”
Will Batchelder: “Tonight was a fun game for our seniors. It was a good win in a good atmosphere.”
Will is taking his road test on Saturday. Stay clear of the Haverhill Registry on that day!
Senior John Gorgol on being from Arizona and choosing Governor’s Academy: “My uncle and grandmother live about three minutes away from Govs. I learned about it from them. Having my grandmother nearby has been great because I can go over to her house every weekend and eat chicken.”
John’s college plans: “I am going to go to Babson. It’s a great business school. I will be playing basketball. I met with some of the players and I felt like I was already part of the team.”
Coach Sanders: “We’re a talented young team so some of our seniors have had to sacrifice playing time to the younger kids. They have made it work. They are all captains for us. I wanted to send them out on a high note tonight.”
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)