Freshman Muhammad takes up slack for Gaels

Bishop Gorman’s Shabazz Muhammad is only a freshman. He played like a seasoned veteran Monday night.

With two regular starters on the bench with injuries, Muhammad found himself with the ball in crucial situations, and he responded, scoring 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter to help the Gaels hold off visiting Durango, 77-71.

“Shabazz is an exceptional freshman,” said junior point guard Johnathan Loyd, who scored a game-high 32 points. “He stepped up and played big the whole game.”

The victory left the Gaels (16-4) alone atop the Southwest League at 8-1. Durango (11-7) fell to 6-2 in league.

Gorman was without leading rebounder Anson Winder, who has a hip injury. Starting guard Czar Robotham played limited minutes because of a nagging knee injury.

Without that pair, the Gaels leaned heavily on Loyd, Muhammad and Kylel Coleman, who combined for 71 of Gorman’s 77 points.

Muhammad, a 6-foot-3-inch forward, made some big baskets in the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer with 2:46 to go made it 66-59, and he followed with a transition jumper to push the lead to nine and halt Durango’s latest push.

“He’s such a good kid, as well,” Gaels coach Grant Rice said of Muhammad. “He works hard, and obviously he’s going to be a special player for us.”

Gorman threatened to pull away several times, but the Trailblazers answered time and again. Marcus Falley was usually the player to end the Gorman runs. He finished with 25 points and six rebounds.

“We went up 10 or so at least three times during the game, and they just kept coming back,” Rice said. “Not good for the coaches, but a really good game for the fans. Gorman vs. Durango, it seems like it’s always going to be like that.”

Contact Prep Sports Editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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