Gaels boys win home tournament

The Bishop Gorman boys basketball team missed out on the chance to win its own tournament last season. Consider the second time the charm for the Gaels.

Gorman used a late second-half run to take control and held off Denver East 64-59 on Saturday in a physical championship game of the Bishop Gorman Holiday Classic.

“It’s a special thing to win your own tournament with some really good teams in it this year,” said Gaels coach Grant Rice, whose team lost to Bishop O’Connell (Va.) in the final in the inaugural event. “It definitely wasn’t the prettiest, but it’s a win.”

On a night when guards Kylel Coleman and Johnathan Loyd combined to go 4 of 15 from the floor, the Gaels (7-2) got big contributions from juniors Anson Winder and Xavier Grimble. Winder had 11 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, while the 6-foot-5-inch Grimble added 10 points, four rebounds and tough post defense on Denver East’s DaVaughn Thornton.

The 6-5 Thornton, who is being heavily recruited as a football player, had 23 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 2:53 left.

“I’m proud of X,” Rice said. “He came in in the second half and neutralized him.”

The Angels used a 10-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 43-42 midway through the second half and went up 49-46 on a three-point play from Thornton. Gorman answered with a 13-2 run, capped by Czar Robotham’s fast-break basket, and led 59-51 with 4:12 to go.

“We started closing out shooters and boxing out better in the second half,” said Loyd, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “We just tried to put pressure on the ball and take charges, and that’s what we did.”

Denver East got as close as 60-57 on a baseline floater from Patrick Hilaire, but Winder and Loyd (eight points) combined to make four straight free throws in the final 35.1 seconds to close it out.

Gorman led wire to wire in the first half, going up 13-5 on Tim Carter’s three-point play. Coleman completed a three-point play to give the Gaels their biggest lead at 25-17 with 4:15 remaining, and Gorman led 29-24 at the break.

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