By John Ourand
After they lost to Paul VI by 10 points in January, the Gonzaga Eagles rebounded from the earlier loss and defeated the Panthers 72-57 on Tuesday night in the Carmody Center.
Both teams were off to a slow start in the first quarter. Paul VI didn’t score in the first three minutes of the game and with 3:51 remaining in the quarter, the score was only 4-4. Paul VI broke out of the slump first, and a drive by Anthony Harris followed by an offensive rebound from Miles Latimer brought its lead to 8-4. Foul shots from Eddie Scott and a deep 2-pointer from Chris Lykes tied the game at eight
However, careless Gonzaga turnovers turned into more points for Paul VI, and the Panthers held a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Gonzaga started to show its dominance in the second quarter. It started with a Prentiss Hubb steal, which led to a basket, and the Eagles never looked back. Anwar Gill came off the bench to block two shots and score a couple buckets. His work, with breakaway dunks from Hubb and Eddie Scott, forced Paul VI to use three of its timeouts that quarter.
Gonzaga started to run away with it at the end of the half. A beautiful behind-the-back layup from Lykes put the Eagles ahead by 13 points with a little over a minute left. Scott was able to add in a free throw with 17 seconds left to give Gonzaga its largest leaf of the half, 16 points. The Eagles led 37-21 at half.
Gonzaga showed similar success in the third quarter. Lykes dished out assists to teammates Myles Dread and Hubb early in the quarter to get the second half started. By the middle of the third quarter, Gonzaga was up by as many as 19 points as they lead 52-33.
But the Panthers still had something left in them, and showed some signs of life later that quarter. Guard Anthony Harris had a trio of 3-pointers, but it wasn’t enough to stop the rolling Eagles, who led 57-42 after the quarter.
In the fourth quarter it seemed to be all Gonzaga. After a Hubb three pointer and a Gill breakaway dunk, the Eagles were set to call this game a victory. Paul VI did run a full-court press midway through the quarter to force a Gonzaga timeout, but it was too late for the Panthers to make a comeback. Even with a late timeout and a Josiah Freeman 3pointer, Paul VI fell to Gonzaga 72-57.
Gonzaga’s bench was responsible for a large part of the team’s impressive showing. Terrance Williams entered the game early in the first quarter and almost immediately made an impact with an offensive rebound that quarter.
Through the rest of the game he was a big target in the paint on Lykes’ assists, and he even had a 3-pointer of his own. Other guys like Anwar Gill came off the bench to make their presence known. Gill had two blocks in the first half, and was a force on the boards on both offense and defence. Prentiss Hubb was thankful for the bench making his job easier.
“It’s really good having helpful assets on the bench,” Hubb said after the game. “Me and Chris can’t do it all and the starters can’t do it all so we got people like Anwar, Terrance, Josh and the rest of our bench to help us.”
Gonzaga’s next game is on Thursday against the DeMatha Stags. Gonzaga played DeMatha earlier this season on January 24th and won 76-63 at home. The road game will be a challenge for Gonzaga going up against another top three WCAC team. Gonzaga’s head coach Steve Turner is hoping the team can use the earlier game as an example.
“It’s another league game,” Turner said. “[We will] try to do some of the things we did in the first game. Try to limit pain touches when we can and on the offensive end really make them work and execute on defence and share the ball like we did tonight. If we do that, I feel like we have an opportunity to be right where we need to be.”
Edited by Max Marcilla