Former Gordon star Tom Kleinschmidt won his debut as varsity basketball coach. The Rams scored 42 points in the second half and forced 29 turnovers for the game in a 75-45 win over Marine Military Academy.
Devanchey Bell led three starters in double figures with 18 points.
Gordon made 29-of-57 shots while forcing 29 turnovers as Sam Rarick added 14 points and sophomore Raequan Williams contributed with 11 points.
Deon Merril came off the bench to score 11 points.
“It felt good to play,” Kleinschmidt said. “The kids did great. I’m so proud of them.”
“We really weren’t nervous,” Rarick admitted after the game. “We knew what we had to do. We had to come out and play hard. We did and got a big win.”
Kleinschmidt was one of the best players in the state as a three-year starter for the Rams from 1988-1991. Kleinschmidt led Gordon to the Class AA Championship game where they were beaten by King. He attended DePaul before playing in the Japan Basketball League.
Kleinschmidt has always wanted to remain in the game. Kleinschmidt was the head coach at York this past season guiding the Dukes to a 20-8 record. Now, Kleinschmidt is glad to be back at his old school.
“This is where I got my start,” Kleinschmidt added after the victory on opening night. The late “Steve Pappas was looking down on me tonight. (Gordon football coach) Tom Winiecki was looking down on me tonight. All of the guys I played with got me to this job. Those guys made me. This school molded me.”
“He’s a good coach,” senior Jerry Davis said. “He wants us to be at our best. He wants us to play defense. He wants us to play hard.”
Gordon struggled early before taking control of the contest in the second quarter. The Rams led 13-9 before taking a 33-22 advantage at halftime.
Gordon put the game out of reach in the third quarter. The Rams began the second half by outscoring the Bulldogs 17-3.
Marine Military missed 33-of 47 attempts. Romeo Smith led the Bulldogs with 13 points.
Gordon missed 15 foul shots in the win over Marine Military.
Gordon will open up Catholic League play next week against one of the the state’s best teams in Seton. The Rams have enjoyed postseason recently, but they will try to break a 31-game losing streak in the Catholic League.
“Our league is a beast,” Kleinschmidt said. “We know that.”
For now, Gordon will concentrate on winning the Thanksgiving tournament at home.
“It’s a family atmosphere at Gordon,” Kleinschmidt said about the Rams. “The people that work here really care about the kids. They are not just working here for a job. They probably could work at other places for more money.”
Lake View (1-0) beat Ida Crown in the other season opener 64-40.