By Matt Cohen
January 2nd marked a big day at B-CC. After months of construction, the school’s main entrance reopened in the morning, and at night, the Barons basketball took the floor for the first home game in the newly reopened gym. Coming in to the face the Barons on this celebratory night, the arch-rival Whitman Vikings. The students from both schools packed the bleachers, as the Barons and Vikings began the next chapter in their rivalry.
Behind a dominant fourth quarter from Barons center Gordon Gibson, B-CC pulled away for a 50-38 win over the Vikings.
Both teams started slow in the raucous atmosphere, and missed shot after shot. Half of B-CC’s points in a poor first quarter performance on offense came from the free throw line. However, the Barons made things difficult for the Vikings on the other end, and didn’t fall behind as Whitman couldn’t score either. At the end of the first quarter, Whitman led 9-8.
Turnovers, the consistent issue the Barons have faced all year were prevalent in the first quarter, point guard Elijah Wood committed four turnovers in the first quarter alone.
Both teams spent the early part of the game going back and forth, and neither team mounted any type of a run, at least through the first quarter and a half. In the second half of the second quarter, the Barons finally found a groove on offense. B-CC was able to get a few buckets in transition, and a three pointer from Elijah Wood brought the Barons lead to 10 points. Whitman cut the lead down to eight as the two sides headed into the half. Though the momentum favored the Barons in the locker room as they had closed the first half with the first semblance of rhythm either team had on the offensive end.
The Barons kept the momentum going in the early minutes of the second half, and brought the lead up to 11 points. B-CC was able to out duel Whitman on the offensive glass during the beginning of the third quarter, giving B-CC the second chance opportunities it used to build the lead back up.
Right when the Barons’ lead hit 11, the Vikings began to claw their way back. A three pointer from Joey Squeri kickstarted the Vikings, who cut the deficit to seven points heading to the fourth quarter, trailing 36-29.
Whitman continued to roll in the beginning of the fourth quarter. B-CC returned to committing turnover after turnover, including three straight possessions with a turnover. The Vikings took full advantage of these mistakes, and came within three points of the Barons.
That was as close as they would get.
Right when it seemed B-CC was about to give up the lead it had spent so long building, Gordon Gibson caught fire. During the second half of the fourth quarter, Gibson was absolutely unstoppable. Gibson wore down Whitman’s center Rodrigo Ruiz, and scored at will in the paint. Gibson scored 10 points in the fourth quarter for the Barons, including six straight. Behind Gibson’s dominant play in the fourth quarter, the Barons pushed the lead to five, then eight, and all the sudden back to double digits.
“It was just the extra effort, I couldn’t let them win. It was my last Whitman home game,” Gibson said of his fourth quarter performance.
Whitman, unable to turn the tide of the game, was forced to foul, and B-CC did well from the line. Thomas Baer hit two huge free throws in the final minute, and B-CC pulled away to win the game, 50-38. B-CC improved to 6-3 overall, and 1-0 in the division.
Gibson’s 10 fourth quarter points were part of his 26 total for the game, going along with nine rebounds led the Barons to the win. Elijah Wood added 12 points, including two huge transition dunks. No other Baron had more than four points.
B-CC got Gibson back from a dislocated shoulder in this game, after having him out since mid-December. Gibson clearly made his presence felt in his return, helping the Barons overcome mistakes they made in the second half.
Those mistakes, yet again, were turnovers. Wood committed 11 turnovers alone in the game. The only game this season where B-CC has not had rampant turnovers problems was the win over Bullis, the team’s best overall game this season. B-CC was able to still get a win against a strong Vikings team despite the turnovers, but game after game this either proves to be, or nearly proves to be, the Barons downfall.
B-CC also made up for its turnovers with great defense. Whitman is an efficient offensive team, led by guard Alex Sanson. Sanson, a very streaky shooter, was held largely in check by the Barons defense. B-CC rarely gave up and open look, and always had a hand in the face of Whitman shooters. The 38 points scored by the Vikings was by far their lowest total of the season.
The Barons win was far from pretty, but they did just enough late to win. B-CC’s next game is against Churchill on Friday, 1/5.