By Bonta Hill
Gateway High School came into its Bay Counties League Central showdown against Bay School on a 10-game winning streak, and with a considerable size advantage over the Breakers, the Gators were looking to make a statement.
But Bay had other ideas and forced Gateway into 20 turnovers while shooting 48 percent from the floor to roll to a 67-44 victory on Tuesday at Letterman Gym.
Bay (11-6, 3-0), which is still playing without last season’s BCL Central MVP Henry Gale, who is out with a shoulder injury, blew open the game with a 15-0 run midway through the fourth quarter.
“The boys had a tough non-league [schedule] and we’ve been through a lot of physical, hard games,” said Bay head coach Pete Overfelt. “We just kind of put our heads down and went to work, knowing if we did what we needed to do, we’d win.”
Leading 50-41 with 5:30 left in the game, Bay senior guard Connor Mattoon started the run with a steal and a finger roll, and senior Zev Newman’s 3-point play on the next possession made it 55-41.
Bay has leaned on the senior leadership of Mattoon, who had a game-high 18 points Tuesday, and Newman this season. The Breakers also got a significant contribution from James Koch, who scored nine points.
“We do miss Henry, but before the season I felt we had five players who can score 20 every night,” Overfelt said. “Now, I have four that can score 20 as well, as James is picking up the slack and playing very physical.”
Gateway (11-2, 3-1) dug itself an early hole, falling behind 19-9 after the first quarter, but the Gators shot 64 percent in the second frame to cut the Bay lead to 26-24 on a pair of jump shots from senior Ramon Thompson.
Despite a strong effort from junior Ray Porter, who finished with a team-high 17 points, the Gators never got closer than the five-point deficit they faced at halftime, shooting a meager 24 percent from the field in the second half.
“Give Bay credit. They kept our bigs under wrap and shot the ball beautifully,” said Gateway head coach Greg Grossman. “[We] closed out the first half well, but we couldn’t shoot in the [second half], and we turned the ball over way too much.”
Gateway won’t have much time to lick its wounds as it is set to face defending BCL Central champion Waldorf on Wednesday.
“Its only one game and the league [season] is long,” Grossman said. “We have to bounce back quickly because Waldorf is the same way. They can shoot.”
Connor Mattoon – 18
Lucas Knorr – 13
James Wasner – 12
James Koch – 9
Zev Newman – 9
Ray Porter – 17
Ramon Thompson – 8
Evan Derheim – 6
Kenechi Anigbogu – 5
Two players tied with 3 points