Big three make presence felt for Bishop Gorman

Stephen Zimmeman, Chase Jeter and Zach Collins give Bishop Gorman’s boys basketball team unmatched size, and playing the three big men together might seem like a good idea on paper.

On Saturday, the idea worked on the court, too.

Zimmerman, Jeter and Collins each had 16 points, and the Gaels used the three big men together down the stretch as they pulled away for a 71-51 win over Corona (California) Centennial for third place in the Platinum Division of the Tarkanian Classic at Gorman.

“It’s just a sign of how much we trust each other, how the coaches trust us and how far we’ve come,” said the 6-foot-11-inch Jeter, who also had 13 rebounds. “Being able to do that, it worked great for us. We had Zach with some big 3s, and Zim with some great points down there down the stretch.”

Gorman led 45-42 when Jeter got the ball on the left block and kicked it out to Julian Payton, who nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:49 to play to push the lead to six. That sparked a 26-9 run for Gorman to close the game.

“That was a big shot from Julian,” Jeter said. “When he comes off (the bench) he always brings energy, so he’s a great player for us.”

Gorman coach Grant Rice inserted Payton into the lineup along with starting point guard Richie Thornton and the three big men.

“We seemed to have a little more energy those last 10 minutes than they did,” Rice said. “We just got on a little roll and it worked. With two point guards and the three bigs, it worked. It could have gone the other way. You just never know. For today we made the right decision. We’ll see what happens next game.”

Collins, a 6-11 junior, hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes to help the Gaels extend the lead. Gorman continued to be aggressive offensively against Centennial’s pressure down the stretch.

“We hit the middle and then attacked,” Rice said. “A lot of times coaches have a tendency, including myself, to be too conservative when you’ve got the lead. We had Zim in the middle, we hit the middle and then looked to attack. Zach Collins hit those two big 3s and kind of iced the game for us.”

Collins was 7-for-7 from the field and scored all 16 of his points in the second half. The 7-footer Zimmerman finished with nine rebounds and four assists for Gorman, which lost 52-50 in overtime to Putnam City West (Oklahoma) in the semifinals on Friday.

“We just went in with the mindset that we had to take it out on Corona Centennial,” Jeter said. “Being able to take it out on them was the best way to bounce back from that loss last night.”

Sedrick Barefield led Centennial with 22 points and seven assists.

Contact reporter Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters.

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