51 years ago Gordon defeated Loyola, winning the Chicago Catholic League championship. Friday, Loyola entered Tom Winiecki gym at Gordon Tech leading the Catholic League North along with St. Ignatius.
In front of a crowd pumped by recognition of the 1962 championship team, the Rams could only play spoiler against Loyola.
But this, apparently, is Loyola’s year.
Loyola (18-5, 8-2) took sole possession of first place in the Catholic League North with a 49-40 win over Gordon (15-9, 3-7).
“They are the hottest team in the state,” Gordon head coach Tom Kleinschmidt said after the loss.
“I thought Gordon was really good tonight,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “They gave us everything we could handle. I thought it was a (great) Catholic League game and Gordon is going in the right direction.”
Loyola won an offensive struggle as Jack Morrissey led the Ramblers with 18 points while James Clarke added 17 points.
Jerry Davis led Gordon with 17 points.
Points were at a premium as Loyola made 14-of-36 attempts while Gordon was 16-of-38 at home.
One player that didn’t have problems scoring points was Morrissey. The talented junior had four three-point baskets on the evening and led all scorers with 18 points.
“He’s a confident kid,” Kleinschmidt admitted. “He doesn’t care who is guarding him on defense. He takes big shots. The kid is a great player.”
Scoring points has been an issue all season for Gordon. The Rams began the contest missing five of six shots against Loyola’s man-to-man defense. The night ended with the Rams missing six consecutive shots at the hoop after closing the margin to four points.
Gordon fell behind by 10 points on three separate occasions before cutting the lead to 44-40 with 2:28 left.
Loyola made five foul shots to remain in first place.
“I didn’t think it was our best night, but we went on the road in the Catholic League and won,” Livatino said on the victory.
“It was a four-point game,” Kleinschmidt stated. “They couldn’t score either. We want our offense to be better. They did enough to be there at the end against one of the best teams in the state. I’m proud of my kids and their effort.”
Gordon has equaled its win total from last season under Kleinschmidt.
“He’s a winner,” former Gordon star Jitim Young said on Kleinschmidt. “He’s won at the high school level, the college and the pros. He’s a great player. When a guy knows how to win it’s going to translate in life and on the basketball court.”
Gordon has won 12 Catholic League basketball championships. The school’s first title was 1962, and Young led the Rams to their last league championship in 2000.
Pairings were announced for the state basketball tournament, the Rams will face Elmwood Park or Senn in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.