Big men set tone, key Gorman in Tarkanian Classic third-place game

Bishop Gorman didn’t plan on being in the third-place game of its own tournament Saturday. But a tough loss to Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.) on Friday landed the Gaels there.

Gorman made the most of it.

The Gaels opened the game with a 10-0 run and never trailed on the way to a 62-53 victory over Redondo Union (Calif.) in the Tarkanian Classic at Gorman.

“We just had to come back and show our anger and aggression on the floor and take it out on the losing team,” junior forward Chase Jeter said.

The 6-foot-10-inch Jeter and 7-foot center Stephen Zimmerman combined for 17 first-half points a night after scoring just 19 in the 68-54 loss to O’Dowd.

Jeter finished with 19 points, making all 11 of his free-throw attempts, and added six rebounds and a blocked shot. Zimmerman had nine points, eight rebounds and a blocked shot.

“Chase was really good,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “I thought Zim was great in the first half. Zim came out and was really good, had nine points and was extremely aggressive.”

Zimmerman didn’t score in the second half, and spent much of the half on the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 11:48 to play, but it didn’t matter.

The Gaels led 40-37 at that point, but had stretched the lead to nine points by the time Zimmerman returned.

“We played on all cylinders,” Rice said. “Defensively, the zone was really working. We had guys diving on the floor for loose balls.”

Reserve guard Richie Thornton scored just two points, but had four assists and gave the Gaels a boost on defense.

“We went to a three-guard lineup, and he really gave us a good lift in the second half,” Rice said.

Senior guard Noah Robotham led the way with 22 points and three assists. Robotham was 7-for-10 from the field, and was named to the all-tournament team.

“Noah’s going to be our leader,” Rice said. “We know that.”

A steal and basket by Cameron High trimmed the Gorman lead to 38-37 with 12:24 to play. But Robotham answered with a fast-break basket, and Jeter hit two free throws to push the lead to five points. The Seahawks wouldn’t threaten again.

“We told them a true test of a team is not really how many games you win, but how you respond to losses and to adversity,” Rice said. “And we definitely had some adversity last night. They took it to us. So I was really happy, especially when we came out to start the game and had a 10-0 lead. The guys were focused.”

Ian Fox led Redondo Union with 14 points.

Contact reporter Damon Seiters at 702-380-4587 or Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.