Maddy Gordon says her team likes to keep some energy in reserve for opportune moment. Horace Mann tries to wear opponents down with its speed and surge past or away from them late.
“We just run them out until they are too tired,” the sophomore guard said.
Riverdale was in the midst of a comeback, trailing by just five points halfway through the fourth quarter, when Gordon tapped into that something extra. She calmly knocked down a jumper from the top of the key and came flying into traffic in the paint along the right for a putback to start a quick game-sealing run.
“I just needed to keep my team up and keep them going and just take control and make sure I can set up good shots and get us where we can pull ahead,” Gordon said.
She scored a team-high 15 points and helped lead Horace Mann to a 41-29 win over Ivy League rival Riverdale in the 59th Annual Buzzell Game at Manhattan College’s Draddy Gymnasium Saturday night. The game is played in memory of Robert Buzzell, a former Horace Mann football player who dead of polio in 1950. All proceeds go to the March of Dimes foundation. Horace Mann has won the last seven meetings.
“Her legs and arms never run out,” senior McKenize Foster said for Gordon. “She is always making really great shots for us.”
The Lions are mostly small guards and have just one 6-foot player in freshman Rachel Lander who more than held her own. Still, they did a superb job of collapsing on Riverdale forwards Chelsea Baez and Morgan Brock-Smith, who are 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-2, respectively. Sophomore Tori Goodell led the Falcons (4-4, 0-4) with 10 points.
“Against a bigger lineup it shouldn’t have been a contest,” Riverdale coach Carol Pouliot said. “If my kids can’t hit the outside shot when they are packing it in the paint we are not going to win.”
On the other end, Horace Mann (6-0, 3-0), which has its eyes on an Ivy League title, used the speed and shiftiness of Gordon and Foster (10 points) to cut its way through the Riverdale defense. Its press also created numerous turnovers that led to quick points. Foster scored off an inbounds play and Gordon connected on a layup and a jumper from the right side to give the Lions a seven-point lead early in the third quarter and went up 30-22 to start the fourth on a putback by Lander. Clara Hill added seven points.
“A lot of us were nervous,” Baez said. “We started panicking and turning the ball over.”
The star junior, who Pouliot thought played afraid at times, did help lead the Riverdale comeback in the fourth, diving for loose balls, leading the fast break and rebounding on the defensive end. She hit Brock-Smith and Goodell for layups and sunk a 3-pointer from the top of the key to pull the Falcons within 35-30 with 5:27 left in the game.
“Our faith really went up during that,” Baez said. “Everyone on the court got excited. Everyone on the bench got excited. Hearing the crowd even got us more excited.”
Gordon, though, quickly put an end to any hope and their thought of regaining the trophy that goes to the winner.
“That’s just her, very big on the clutch shots,” first-year Horace Mann coach Edwin Santiago said of Gordon. “With that talent, she is going to be an unbelievable player.”
©2010 Community News Group