"It's All About The Game"

Eagles claw their way to Ireton win






Ron Bailey, Publisher

Gonzaga could be on the uptick.


January 10, 2013 - At 5-10 overall and 2-4 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, Gonzaga's Eagles have not been previously soaring. Part of that is due to injuries, while players in new roles certainly has contributed.

Well, after last night's 61-59 overtime, league win at Bishop Ireton, this group of Eagles just may begin to fly high again. One in particular knows expectations of his performance are now soaring.

"In the beginning of the season I had an injury, and (I'm) just mentally getting back into the swing of things" said senior forward Jordan Abdur-Ra'oof afterward of his performance. "And tonight was a big step forward for me".

Indeed, as the Cornell signee scored 21 points, was active and logged the game's signature play: With two seconds remaining on overtime, Abdur-Ra'oof converted a miss by junior point guard Bryant Crawford, securing Gonzaga's win.

Jordan Abdur-Ra'oof got it going last night.

Of the sequence, Jordan noted "I saw early in the game it was a missed layup I could have put back in...I had to go in and crash the boards. the ball wound up in my hands and I just kissed it off the glass and it went in".

Though that play was dramatic and important, a Gonzaga defensive switch might have been more decisive, as to start the second quarter head coach Steve Turner opted to change zones schemes, utilizing one that called for more trapping and man-to-man principles. The result, in part was a three point deficit to start the period turning into 31-28 lead at intermission.

"We tried to speed them up a little bit. They were getting opportunities. When they were able to get their feet set, you can see, they can make shots" said Turner of his reasoning, which also included forcing senior wing Daniel Noe to rush and/or take the ball away from him to "make other guys have to try and make plays".

Good call, given Noe, headed to Navy next year was a force all game long, scoring 24 points. Noe even provided drama himself, driving from the right side, spinning and scoring on a runner with five seconds in regulation, a shot that propelled his Cardinals to overtime.

Senior wing Ty Quarles joined Noe in double figures for Ireton, now 8-5, 0-4 in WCAC action. Pat Moseh, a senior forward, contributed eight points.

Crawford, himself having suffered an injury this season scored eight points for Turner's crew, while senior guard Tyrell Thomas finished with nine points, scored on three consecutive three pointers to end the third quarter, shots instrumental in Gonzaga's nine point leading going into the fourth. That pair and their teammates have raised their bar so to speak.

"Consistency, that's what we've talked about" he shared. Last night, he believed "we were consitient for four quarters".

Is Abdur-Ra'oof prepared for those expectations, both team-wise and personally?

"I'm fine with that" was the response. Turner and his staff most certainly will be also.

Player Watch:

Ty Quarles - 6'5", 180 pound senior wing, Ireton - Quarles is primarily a shooter, but can also slash. Needs to get stronger overall and more aggressive off the bounce.

DII schools are recruiting him, but it's unclear whether offers have been tendered.

Pat Moseh - 6'5", 210 pound senior forward, Ireton - A rough and rugged guy, Moseh scores most of his buckets in the paint off of drives, short shots and stick backs. Is a warrior, yet must get more consistent from distance, who has no offers.

Bradley Jacks - 6'6", 230 pound senior center, Gonzaga - Showed heart playing through a sprained finger, Jacks, can rebound, score around the tin and rim protect, though he must to all constantly. Has no offers, though DII's and some DI's are sniffing.

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