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Gordon Tech prides itself on its defensive prowess. Offense is secondary.
The Rams defense was on full display Sunday night as they completely shut down Jones in a 51-29 victory to capture the 48th Annual Luther North Holiday Tournament title.
“Our coach (Tom Kleinschmidt) told us we want to hang our hat on defense, that’s our focus,” said Gordon senior guard Jerry Davis, who led the team with 13 points. “We don’t worry about the offense. With great defense, the offense will come.”
The Eagles (9-7) were ice cold early on as the Rams’ aggressive defense took its toll. Jones was 1-for-8 from the floor in the first quarter as Gordon (9-5) cruised to a 14-2 lead heading into the second.
By halftime, The Rams held a 27-12 advantage, while shooting 10-for-23 from the floor.
The Eagles pulled within 27-16 with 6:33 left in the third quarter after back-to-back buckets by Robert Johnson and Vincent Lindsey.
But it was all Gordon after that as they responded with a 12-0 run highlighted by three-pointers from Kyle Challand and Chris Harrell.
The Rams led 42-25 after three quarters and were never challenged in the fourth.
“We’re all getting to know our roles and we’re starting to click,” said Gordon senior Raequan Williams, who finished with nine points and four blocks. “We wanted all of their shots to be contested and we did that. The goal coming into the tournament was to keep everyone under 35 points.”
The Rams, who went 4-0 in the tournament, allowed Taft to score 42, but the other three opponents were held under 34.
Jones finished the night 13-for-29 from the floor and just 2-for-12 from beyond the arc. Gordon was 17-for-35 from the floor.
Johnson led the Eagles with a game-high 14 points while Ellington Bramwell had nine points.
“They had really great defensive pressure and jumped all the passing lanes,” Johnson said. “They made it really tough for us to get in our sets. They’re the most intense defense we’ve faced this year.”
Still, Johnson was pleased to be bringing home a trophy.
“It’s not a great feeling to come off a loss but getting second when no one thought we had a chance coming into this tournament is great.”