SUNSET BOYS: Gaels’ Loyd proves he’s big shot
February 24, 2010 - 12:14 am
Johnathan Loyd tried to warn the Palo Verde defenders they needed to guard him on the perimeter. When the Panthers declined, Bishop Gorman’s senior point guard made them pay.
Loyd made five 3-pointers — four in the first half — and scored 25 points to lead the Gaels to a 79-62 victory in the Sunset Region championship at Palo Verde on Tuesday.
Gorman (28-2) earned a berth in the Class 4A state tournament and will play Northern Region champion Bishop Manogue at 8 p.m. Thursday at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center.
Loyd said he had a feeling Palo Verde wouldn’t guard him closely after he went 0-for-3 on 3-pointers in Gorman’s semifinal victory over Desert Oasis on Monday.
“I know they saw me play yesterday and they thought I couldn’t shoot or whatever, but I had a bad game,” Loyd said. “So I came out there and said, ‘I can shoot, you better guard me,’ and they never did. So I just kept shooting.”
Loyd hit 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions in the first quarter to help give Gorman the lead. He finished 5-for-11 from behind the arc.
“They were really sagging in the first quarter and John stepped up and hit some big 3s,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “That really carried us in the first half.”
Loyd had 16 points in the half as Gorman took a 40-30 lead. The Gaels cranked up their transition game in the second half and led by as much as 21 points in the fourth quarter.
“In the first half we controlled their transition play pretty good, but in the second half they got into the open court where they’re most dangerous with wings running and lob plays going on and dunks going on,” Palo Verde coach Jermone Riley said. “That’s what they do well, and in the second half, we didn’t do a good job of controlling that.”
Gorman sophomore Shabazz Muhammad found the faster tempo to his liking, scoring 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, including three fast-break dunks. Anson Winder added 15 points and Taylor Spencer 10 for the Gaels.
“We love to get up and down first, because we’ve got Shabazz, Anson and Taylor and they’re going to run the floor like nobody else,” said Loyd, who had five rebounds and seven assists. “I try to get them the ball and they do their things.”
Moses Morgan had 20 points and seven rebounds for Palo Verde (21-4), which also lost to Gorman in last year’s Class 4A state championship game.
The Sunset tournament originally was scheduled to end last Friday, but didn’t even begin until Saturday after Western appealed four forfeits. The delay leaves Gorman only one off day before the state tournament, but that’s OK with Loyd. The Sunrise Region tournament ended Friday and the Northern Region tournament finished Saturday.
“It’s tough to sit for a week and then come and play and pick right up where you left off,” Loyd said. “You might be rested, but your chemistry might be messed up. So it’s not bad that we’re playing five games in seven days. We have no problem with that.”