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October 1, 2023

Fouled up

Rams run down by Ohlone in 81-55 loss
GILROY – The Gavilan College men’s basketball team was unable to match the firepower of Ohlone College, the state’s sixth ranked team, as the host Rams went down 81-55 in Saturday night’s matchup.

“We played one of the best teams in the state,” said Chris Shoemaker, head coach for the Rams. “What they do is apply a tremendous amount of pressure on defense and it has a tendency to take people out of their offense, and that is what they did to us.”

Gavilan (2-13) looked hard pressed in the very beginning as Ohlone was able to jump out to a quick lead and never look back. In the first half, the visitors’ peaked at a 14-point spread, which was cut to as low as seven by the feisty Rams.

Ohlone (13-1) kept the Rams off balance as they forced fouls and turnovers that prevented them from mounting any serious offensive drive. Gavilan turned the ball over eight times in the first half, while Ohlone only gave it up twice.

The Rams were boxed out at nearly every opportunity and sophomore forward Jimmy Cheatum led the team in rebounds with only five boards.

Gavilan was able to mount a comeback late in the half, forcing fouls by Ohlone, and the shots began to fall. By the time the first half was over, the Rams found themselves down, 37-27.

“I think we played hard the entire night,” Shoemaker said. “When you play hard you are going to give yourself the chance to make some runs, which is what we did at the end of the half.”

Despite a strong start and several runs that cut into the deficit, the Rams had their hands full with Ohlone.

Lionel Smith began to get aggressive, and scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and backed that up with eight boards (12 overall).

But once again turnovers, fouls and the inability to come down with the rebound drove away any hope for a comeback. Ohlone was able to capitalize on the mistakes and continually drove up the score.

Gavilan would also run into serious foul trouble with 11 in the second half alone.

But despite the one-sided score, the team had played better than in previous games. The Rams were up against a team which played a defense that they had not seen the entire season; coverage that forces teams to foul a lot.

According to Smith, the team is beginning to learn how to play together, and what to expect from each player.

“We are starting to gel,” Smith said. “We’re getting better. This was a good team that we played against. But we played hard and never gave up.”

Coach Shoemaker is also pleased with how his team performed, despite the unfavorable outcome.

“I am really proud of my guys,” Shoemaker said. “They were playing one of the best teams in the state and I think they continued to compete and play hard. We have been working really hard and even though it wasn’t evident tonight, we are getting better.”

The regular season begins on Friday when Gavilan will open at home against Hartenell at 7 p.m.

Before conference, Shoemaker will have his team focus on not turning the ball over as much and how to avoid the fouls.

“That is something we are definitely going to need to improve upon before conference,” said Shoemaker. “We will work hard this coming week against press and against pressure man-to-man and at half court, because we need to take better care of the ball.”

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