GUNN PLAYS HARMONIOUS BASKETBALL IN CCS VICTORY
A good time to play your best basketball game of the season.
The Gunn boys made their postseason debut a positive one Thursday, blowing out Pioneer 72-40 in the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs.
The No. 5 seed Titans (15-9) move on to play No. 4 Willow Glen at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Aragon.
Gunn utilized its size advantage on the frontline to dominate the inside. Brendan Mora led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
“Our strategy was to get the ball inside and get easy baskets,’’ Mora said. “This was definitely our best team effort in terms of ball movement and playing together.’’
Gunn, with its all-6-foot-5 frontline of Mora, Evan Dray and Will Roth, pounded the offensive boards from start to finish. Four minutes into the game the Titans had already attempted 10 foul shots, with most of those opportunities occurring on second shots off offensive rebounds.
“We did a great job of getting to the line, getting into the bonus and riding that into halftime,’’ Gunn assistant coach Josh Gould said.
Gunn led just 13-12 at the end of the first quarter, but steadily pulled away thereafter, outscoring the visitors 17-7 in the second quarter, 23-14 in the third and 19-7 in the fourth.
Evan Dray, who finished with 13 points, hit back-to-back buckets to start the run that allowed Gunn to pull away in the second quarter. Mora converted a three-point play, Collin Griffin scored on an offensive rebound, then it was Dray with baskets on another offensive rebound and off a steal to put the Titans up 11 at 26-15.
Gunn had a 30-17 lead at halftime,.despite not having made a single 3-pointer in the first half. That lack was addressed immediately at the start of the second half as Mora and Mohr Tzur hit consecutive 3s to start the third quarter. The Titans made 7 of their first 9 shots in the quarter and went up 20 at 49-29 after a basket by Roth.
And the game for all intents and purposes was over at that point as Pioneer had difficulty getting anything going.
“We did a better job of closing out on their shooters in the second half,’’ Gould said.
After a 3-7 start to the season Gunn has won 12 of its last 14. The turnaround coincided with Mora, a transfer from Bellarmine, becoming eligible.
“I like it a lot more, I have more friends here at Gunn,’’ Mora said. “Coming here was the best decision I’ve made in my life.’’
Adding Mora to a frontline that already possessed some size has allowed Gunn to dominate at times in the paint.
“The area that Brendan has really helped us is in rebounding the ball,’’ Gould said. “That’s what Brendan has really helped us on, besides his offensive fireworks.’’