Basketball: Rams win first game

 

After losing three starters in a tragic car accident just six days before the season opener and being forced to game plan from scratch, Gavilan coach Tito Addison may have finally found a winning combination.

It was with heavy hearts that the team rallied together to defeat visiting Solano College 67-64 Wednesday to earn its first win of the season.

“The win is not so important; I just want them to play well,” Addison said. “We had a lot of guys who had to establish new roles. But the win was great. Trust me, it was needed.”

Zack Smith hit four free throws in the final 35 seconds to seal the victory. And Matt Johnson and Jordan Ramirez led the Rams in scoring with 16 points each.

Gilroy High grad Derek Jensen, who scored his eight points off the bench in the second half, hit a three-pointer that bounced around on the rim with 7:28 left to give the Rams a 50-44 advantage. Solano tied the game two times after but could never regain the lead.

Solano’s Mike Stockton drained a three-pointer with two minutes remaining to draw within 61-60 and force Gavilan to call a timeout. That let the Rams design a nifty lob pass and basket from Jensen to Jordan. Up 63-62 with 33 seconds left, Gavilan forced a shot clock violation and got the ball back. And Smith hit both free throws each time down the court to ice the victory.

The Rams set the stage in the first half with players like Jamil Taylor, Lance Torres and Andrew Belonia diving for loose balls. Gavilan had its hands full trying to guard 6-foot-8 Caleb Bonds, who led all scorers with 17 points, and 6-foot-5 Chris Edens, who had 16 points. But the Rams used their pesky defense early on to force turnovers and sloppy passes to prevent the Falcons from getting too comfortable in the post. While the smaller Gavilan team struggled to grab rebounds, they did force several jump balls.

“We lack size and we lack speed,” Addison said. “Every chance we can get a second possession we need to take advantage of it. Those are points that don’t show up in the stats, but they can sway how a game goes.”

Johnson had back-to-back treys to give Gavilan an early 13-9 advantage, a lead they held until about 13 minutes left in the second half after Solano (0-8) made a run with a balanced inside and outside attack. The Rams led 25-18 after Johnson made both free throws and Solano missed both during a double technical and led 29-20 after the opening frame.

“There is still a long ways for this team to go,” Addison said. “I am really excited to watch them play. They’re exciting and they work really hard. They understand what they have and who they are.”

The Rams (1-5) face Marin College at 8 p.m. Friday in the Skyline Tournament in San Bruno.After losing three starters in a tragic car accident just six days before the season opener and being forced to game plan from scratch, Gavilan coach Tito Addison may have finally found a winning combination.

It was with heavy hearts that the team rallied together to defeat visiting Solano College 67-64 Wednesday to earn its first win of the season.

“The win is not so important; I just want them to play well,” Addison said. “We had a lot of guys who had to establish new roles. But the win was great. Trust me, it was needed.”

Zack Smith hit four free throws in the final 35 seconds to seal the victory. And Matt Johnson and Jordan Ramirez led the Rams in scoring with 16 points each.

Gilroy High grad Derek Jensen, who scored his eight points off the bench in the second half, hit a three-pointer that bounced around on the rim with 7:28 left to give the Rams a 50-44 advantage. Solano tied the game two times after but could never regain the lead.

Solano’s Mike Stockton drained a three-pointer with two minutes remaining to draw within 61-60 and force Gavilan to call a timeout. That let the Rams design a nifty lob pass and basket from Jensen to Jordan. Up 63-62 with 33 seconds left, Gavilan forced a shot clock violation and got the ball back. And Smith hit both free throws each time down the court to ice the victory.

The Rams set the stage in the first half with players like Jamil Taylor, Lance Torres and Andrew Belonia diving for loose balls. Gavilan had its hands full trying to guard 6-foot-8 Caleb Bonds, who led all scorers with 17 points, and 6-foot-5 Chris Edens, who had 16 points. But the Rams used their pesky defense early on to force turnovers and sloppy passes to prevent the Falcons from getting too comfortable in the post. While the smaller Gavilan team struggled to grab rebounds, they did force several jump balls.

“We lack size and we lack speed,” Addison said. “Every chance we can get a second possession we need to take advantage of it. Those are points that don’t show up in the stats, but they can sway how a game goes.”

Johnson had back-to-back treys to give Gavilan an early 13-9 advantage, a lead they held until about 13 minutes left in the second half after Solano (0-8) made a run with a balanced inside and outside attack. The Rams led 25-18 after Johnson made both free throws and Solano missed both during a double technical and led 29-20 after the opening frame.

“There is still a long ways for this team to go,” Addison said. “I am really excited to watch them play. They’re exciting and they work really hard. They understand what they have and who they are.”

The Rams (1-5) face Marin College at 8 p.m. Friday in the Skyline Tournament in San Bruno.

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