Bay men raid Samsons
IRONWOOD — It’s no secret the GCC Samsons have had trouble scoring this year. Their offensive difficulties spoiled a good defensive effort Saturday against DCTC and it kept them from challenging Bay College Wednesday night.
Bay has been a particularly challenging matchup for the Samsons this year. They kept Gogebic in the 50s for the second time this season, holding the Samsons to a season-low offensive output in an 82-54 win.
“Bay’s defense was very tenacious tonight and they weren’t letting us get any breaks,” GCC coach Dennis Mackey said. “They weren’t letting us get the corner on the screens, they were jumping our screens. They were very physical with us in cutting us off in driving to the lane, and quite frankly, they were quicker than us in many instances. Their defense shut us down, bottom line.”
Bay’s defense revolves around 6-foot-8, 240-pound sophomore forward Christian Alexander from Dorset, England.
“That’s one of the reasons they can overplay like they do,” Mackey said. “He’s a shot blocker in there and he’s a big force. He’s a space eater, too, he’s a big man. That adds to it. His ability to block shots and move within the lane and rule the lane makes it difficult. Then they can overplay on the perimeter and deny our shots and make us put it on the floor and drive us into the lane, or allow us to drive into the lane, where he blocked shots or hurried shots.”
He finished with just six points, but nobody came close to his 14 rebounds and five blocked shots. He doesn’t just do this to Gogebic.
“He’s a big strong kid that just gives most people at our level fits,” Bay coach Matt Johnson said.
The offense works off of him, too, despite his low point total. Teams focus on him, opening up shooters like Ryan Robinette and Matt Wagner, and it creates opportunities for a player like Chris Dobessi, who is great off the dribble.
“It allows those guys to go to work,” Johnson said. “I think everything that we do is based off our big and people giving him so much attention.”
Still Johnson was surprised how Wednesday’s game went. He was aware of how well Gogebic played in Saturday’s loss to DCTC, and a couple of GCC’s offensive weapons give his team matchup problems.
He said he was nervous coming into the Lindquist Center, but his team played so well defensively, holding the Samsons to just 19 first-half points.
“I think our guys really responded with probably the best execution of a game plan that we’ve had,” Johnson said. “We just worked. We worked really hard on the defensive end in the first half. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we’d hold them to 19 points. They’re just too good offensively for that to be the case. But proud of the guys for their effort, they worked their tails off and made things difficult. I guess we did just enough to make those stops when we needed it early and it snowballed from there.”
Mitch Borseth led Gogebic with 14 points. Dachau Lyle scored 12 and Yaser Khan had 10.
“We wish we would have played better,” Mackey said. “Our lack of toughness on the perimter with the ball shows. We just don’t have enough. We need another guard or two that can physically be able to withstand that pressure and get through that pressure and make plays.”
He liked the effort, though.
“We made a lot of decisions that are frustrating, but for the most part our guys played hard,” Mackey said. “I thought the effort was OK for the most part. We just lack enough basketball skills in certain situations, and quite frankly, Bay had more than we did.”
Dobessi led Bay with 15 points. Wagner and Dondre Yohe both scored 13, Robinette 12 and Austin Forbes 10.
The win means there will be a coin flip between DCTC and Bay to decide the top two seeds in the eastern part of the upcoming Region 13 tournament. DCTC and Bay split their season series and both teams swept GCC.
The winner of the coin flip gets a first-round bye to the east final on Feb. 26, while the loser is the 2 seed and will host the third-seeded Samsons on Feb. 22.
DCTC and Bay each won on the other’s home court, but they were by a combined five points.
“I’m not sure which is better, you want to win the flip obviously, but I’m not sure if that’s good or bad,” Johnson said.
GCC (6-19) hosts the MTU Club Team Saturday at 2 p.m. They are having an alumni game at 11:45 that morning.
Bay (17-9) plays at Richard J. Daley College Friday night.
Bay College 34 48 — 82
Gogebic CC 19 35 — 54
Bay College — Fleming 6, Dobessi 15, Wagner 13, Robinette 12, Mattson 2, Harris 2, Forbes 10, Contreras 3, Yohe 13, Alexander 6. FT: 16-24. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None. 3-point field goals: Forbes 2, Wagner 2, Dobessi 1, Contreras 1, Yohe 1, Robinette 1.
Gogebic CC — Janczak 2, Nelson 5, Woodley 9, Borseth 14, Lyle 12, Stauffacher 2, Khan 10. FT: 15-21. Fouls: 23. Fouled out: Nelson, Lyle. 3-point field goals: Khan 2, Woodley 1, Borseth 1, Lyle 1.