Gordley, Arey combine for 53 in Peebles victory –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
After the first three varsity games of the 2016 McDonald’s Classic had been rather lackluster affairs, the last semi-final contest on Wednesday
night proved to be the best of the bunch. On their home court, the three-time defending Classic champion Peebles Indians began their quest for four in a row, matching up with the Manchester Greyhounds. The Hounds didn’t make it easy on the host squad, battling for 32 minutes, but the combination of Camron Gordley and Tanner Arey turned out to be too much to handle as the pair combined for 53 points to lead the Indians to a 71-58 victory and a trip to the Friday night title game.
“I am so impressed with the job that Coach Joey Darnell is doing at Manchester,” said Peebles head coach Josh Arey after the game on C103. “Their kids play extremely hard and good days are ahead for the Greyhounds. They are on their way up.”
“We struggled at time taking care of the ball but Ethan (Parrett) was a little under the weather with the bug that is going around. I have a ton of confidence in Weston Browning to pick up the slack at point guard and we feel comfortable with the ball in his hands.”
The semi-final battle was a game of runs as spurts of 5-0, 7-0, 6-0, 9-0, and 11-0 dotted the scoreboard for both sides. Through three quarters, the fans that filled the Peebles gymnasium were treated to back and forth action that included six ties and 19 lead changes, before the Indians finally pulled away in the final period.
The early lead went to the Greyhounds at 5-2 but an Arey trey tied the game at 5 apiece. A bucket inside by Gordley gave Peebles the lead, followed by a Bryan Young three that put the Hounds back on top, as the theme for the night was well established. A Colton Thornburg score put Manchester up by three, but the Indians got five consecutive free throws to move back in front.
The scoring craze continued back and forth with a steal and lay-in by Bostin Robinson giving the Indians a 16-14 advantage. A Kaulen Cox three put the Hounds back in the lead, but Peebles closed the first period with a 7-0 run, capped by another Arey triple that put the Indians up 23-17 after eight minutes of non-stop action.
After all the offense in the first quarter, both teams went cold as the second stanza opened with nary a point scored for the first three minutes. A Cox basket broke the drought and began a 7-0 Manchester run, finished off by a Gage Lucas trey that put the Hounds up 24-23, but of course a jumper by Arey gave the lead back to Peebles, which was followed by a 5-0 Greyhound run that included a Jamie Combs trey that put the guests back up 29-25.
As expected though, the Indians finished the first half in a flurry, rattling off seven straight, two buckets by the unstoppable Gordley and another Arey long bomb, to head for the locker room nursing a slim 32-29 advantage.
Out of the locker room, it was the Greyhounds who were on fire as they scored on their first five possessions to jump back in front 40-38. As they had all evening, the Indians responded, as Gordley stepped out of the paint and behind the arc to drill a three to give his team the lead, but Cox matched that on the Greyhound end to move the Hounds to a 45-41 advantage. Once again, the home team had an answer, getting a bucket from Arey, a steal and layup from Blake Stone, a stick back by Gordley, and then a unique five-point play by Arey. The Peebles junior guard nailed a three-pointer and was fouled in the process, missed the free throw, but grabbed his own miss and laid it in, all part of an 11-0 run that gave the Indians some breathing room at 52-45.
A basket “and one” by Thornburg edged the Hounds closer but Arey’s fourth trey of the night at the buzzer sent the two teams into the final period with Peebles in front 57-50.
As it began to look like the Greyhounds were running out of gas, the final quarter began with the Indians continuing their run with a Gordley bucket in the paint and two Robinson free throws as they grabbed their first double digit lead of the game at 61-50. The scrappy Greyhounds tried to come back, but had now answer for the muscular Gordley on the inside as the Indians continued to pound the ball in to #44 and he continued to score at will. The big man’s final bucket of the night gave the Indians a 67-53 lead with less than three minutes to play.
The Greyhounds later finished the game on a 5-0 run with the game’s final score coming from Mason Bilyeu, but a valiant effort by the blue and gold wasn’t enough and the Tribe was headed back to the Classic championship game by virtue of a 71-53 victory.
The combination of Arey and Gordley was unstoppable as the two combined for 53 of their team’s 71 points, with Gordley collecting 28 and Arey 25. Arey’s big night included five three-pointers while Gordley dominated the glass and the play inside the free throw line. The tandem was joined in double figures by Bostin Robinson, who added 12 points to the Peebles effort. With the game counting in the standings of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, the Indians now stand at 4-2, 4-1 in the SHAC.
“Tanner and Camron are something else,” said Coach Arey. “The two of them compliment each other well on the inside and outside and when they are rolling and doing their thing, we are pretty tough to defend and throw in Bostin who can get to the rim and hit 15-foot jump shots and Ethan on his game and we can very hard to defend.”
“Tanner spent a year watching Beau Justice and that work ethic has rubbed off on him. He works tirelessly and you see the fruits of that labor on the court. Camron is just exceptional inside, the way he moves, his shot fakes, and then we can pull him out to bring the ball up the floor. What a luxury when you have a kid like that.”
The Greyhounds (2-7, 1-4 SHAC) placed two players in double figures, led by 18 points from Colton Thornburg, with Kaulen Cox adding 11. Bryan Young scored 8 and Jamie Combs tossed in 7 for the blue and gold.
The win means that the Indians will have the opportunity to make it four Classic titles in a row as they will now renew their heated rivalry with the North Adams Green Devils on Dec. 30 in the varsity boys championship game, slated for tip off at 7:30 p.m.
“Peebles and North Adams-it’s going to be fun,” said Coach Arey. “Nine miles away and it is just going to be a great game that we are all looking forward to. They shoot the ball very well so we have to defend their perimeter game.”
The Hounds fell to the tourney’s consolation contest, where they battled the West Union dragons on Thursday night for the third place trophy. Look for all of the consolation and championship results of the 2016 McDonald’s classic in future issues of The People’s Defender.
17 12 21 8 –58
23 9 25 14 –71
Manchester (58): Gould 2 1-2 5, Lucas 2 0-0 5, Darnell 1 0-0 2, Combs 3 0-0 7, Thornburg 7 4-5 18, Bilyeu 1 0-0 2, Young 3 1-2 8, Cox 4 1-1 11, Team 23 7-10 58.
Peebles (71): Arey 9 2-3 25, Robinson 4 4-4 12, Stone 1 0-0 2, Browning 1 0-0 2, L. Gordley 1 0-0 2, C. Gordley 13 1-2 28, Team 29 7-9 71.
Manchester (5): Lucas 1, Combs 1, Young 1, Cox 2
Peebles (6): Arey 5, C. Gordley 1