Closing Time

by Staff Feb 23, 2018
Final 1 2 Total
Modesto (20-9, 13-3)    34 29 63
Gavilan (24-4, 9-3) 29 38 67

Gilroy, Ca – Bud Ottmar Memorial Gymnasium has seen it fare share of playoff magic in the last 10 years. Friday night, the Men’s Basketball team had their chance to add a chapter to the history books and that is exactly what they did. In come from behind fashion, that had them trailing by as many as 13 points in the second half, the Rams came through with a 67 to 63 victory.

Gavilan jumped out to an early 6-2 lead thanks to the effort down low of Ja-Mont Wilson and Takoda Bowers. However, as the shooting for the Rams quickly cooled, the visiting Pirates from Modesto began to heat up and took a 24-13 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half. It was now Gavilan’s turn to answer back, which they did. After a Kenneth Modica free throw capped the 16-6 run, the scoreboard had the Rams down 30-29 with a minute left in the half. To their credit, Modesto went on a quick 4-0 run to end the half up 34-29.

The lead would grow in the opening three minutes of the second half growing to 13 after a three-point shot made by the Pirates. Ibn Zaid quickly fired off and sunk a 12-foot jump shot for the Rams only to give up a layup right through the heart of the Gavilan defense. Coach Dallas Jensen quickly called a time out with 16 minutes left in the game with Modesto leading 49-36.

Settled, the Rams went to work on the deficit with a combination of slashing drives by Mrad Abrha and hard work inside by Modica getting rebounds and put backs while manning the paint defensively for Gavilan. Continuing to work the ball inside earning trips to the free throw line, the Rams were able to score without the clock becoming a major factor.  A Jump shot by Brian King got them within four points with 11 minutes left in the game.

With 4 minutes left in the game down 59-56, the Rams began their final push. The Pirate point guard took the inbounded ball up the court and was able get free at the top of the paint, for what appeared to be an easy layup only to be met by Monica who came from across the lane to meet the guard at the top of his jump and swat the ball away leading to a Ram fast break. As the crowd roared, Zaid dished the ball off to Abrha who able to score on his layup attempt before crashing down to the ground. After a quick time out, Modesto scored quickly with 3:52 left and had a three-point lead. A pair of free throw by Abrha brought the Rams with in one.

 It was now closing time, and up stepped Zaid. As the Rams swung the ball across the court, Zaid was able to find open space in the corner and hit a three-point shot with 2:56 in the game giving the Rams their first lead of the game. It was also the Rams first three-point shot of the game as they missed their previous 12 tries. After a pair defensive stops, and under 2 minutes left, King found Zaid who would sink his second straight three-point shot from the wing and pandemonium erupted in the gym.  Modesto hit two of three free throws in their next offensive trip, bringing the Gavilan lead to three. The Pirates were awarded the ball after forcing a jump ball with 1 minute to go.  With the crowd on their feet, the Rams knew they need two stops to win the game. Just as the crowd had done moments earlier, the Gavilan defense rose to the occasion, coming up with the first stop after forcing a jump shot from the top of the key. Gavilan with the ball and under 25 seconds in the game, getting a good look from King but the shot went off the back rim which was rebounded by the road team. With the clock running, Modesto quickly passed the ball ahead to a forward who appeared to have a break away scoring chance. As the 6-foot 5 Pirate drove towards the rim for a dunk, he was met by Zaid who used all of his jumping prowess to prevent the dunk. The ball bounced off the rim high into the air as precious seconds ran off the clock, only to fall into the hands of a Pirate after being swatted by a couple of Rams. The rebounder quickly tried a bounce pass to one of his teammates who was open in the corner waiting to attempt a 3-point shot, only to have Zaid intercept the ball. His outlet pass was blocked into Abrha’s hands, who was immediately fouled with 3.8 seconds left and the celebration was on. He hit his first free throw, missed his second leaving Modesto with a full court heave at the buzzer and the game was over and the celebration began.

The Rams will travel to Fresno on Saturday night to take on the Rams of Fresno City College. At stake is a trip to the State Championship Tournament which will take place at Ventura College. Gavilan is one of the four remaining Coast Conference teams still alive among the final eight teams on the North side of the bracket. The game will tip-off at 7:00 pm.

Game Leaders
Points: Zaid-18
Rebounds: T.Modica -18
Assists: 4 with 3

Blocks: Modica & Wilson-2

Steals: Zaid -2
Team Stats

Field Goals- FG%: 25-70   36%

3 Point  -3 pt.%: 2-14 14%
Free Throws- FT%: 15-25   60%
Rebounds: 48
Assists: 15
Turnovers: 8