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Battle for the DMV: Gonzaga varsity basketball’s clash of the titans

Thomas+Batties%2C+senior%2C+drives+to+the+basket+during+the+game+against+PVI.+Photo+from+PurpleHoops+Flickr.
Thomas Batties, senior, drives to the basket during the game against PVI. Photo from PurpleHoops Flickr.

After numerous Gonzaga basketball players suffered from the flu during early January, it inevitably led to their first loss of the season to Woodside on Jan. 16 and snapped their 16-game winning streak. They fortunately were able to bounce back against The Heights on Jan. 20 with a convincing 104-48 point win and then thrashed John Paul the Great just two days later with a score of 106-41.  

After a successful week, winning both games, they were set to face off against number one ranked St. Paul the VI on Friday, Jan. 27. PVI had a great start and went into the half up 34-18. Down by 16 points, clearly, something needed to change or be said in the locker room to establish a new mentality out on the floor for Gonzaga. 

Senior forward and Harvard commit Thomas Batties took the lead in the locker room with an important message for his teammates. 

“We needed to keep fighting despite the score,” Batties said. “Just go out, play basketball, play as hard as we can […]. Although we fell short, that’s what put us back in the game. And that’s what gave us a chance at the end to […] bring us back into the game playing basketball and playing as hard as we can.” 

Batties was not the only one firing up the team in the locker room. 

“Coach Turner walked in the room and immediately started to fire us up because he knows we are are capable of playing much better basketball that what we were displaying on the floor that night,” said guard Jack Cadin, senior. 

They stampeded out of the locker room and began a comeback to get within 13 points in the end. However, during this comeback run, head coach Stephen Turner received his second technical of the game and was as a result ejected. 

“It was a big moment for them. It allowed [PVI] to shoot free throws and then also gave them possession of the ball back afterward. It killed any momentum that we had. Ultimately, though, we never should have been in that deficit in the first place; we shouldn’t have needed to be trying to claw our way back,” Batties said. 

Cadin had similar feelings.

“Losing Coach Turner in the final moments was obviously a big loss for us. We rely on him heavily. However, it was nice to see him fight for us and to know that he has our backs,” Cadin said. 

Although Gonzaga was able to mount an impressive comeback, they ultimately dropped this game 57-70 and earlier in the week lost to Good Council 58-74. Although they have been on a skid recently, Batties and Cadin do not seem to be fazed by the recent losses. 

“We just need to come out and throw the first punch each night. No more fighting from behind,” Cadin said.

Batties also is hopeful about the rest of the season. 

“We just need to play with the same hunger as we did at the beginning of the season and to play more as a unit,”  Batties said. 

Varsity basketball travels to St. John’s tomorrow, Feb. 7; the game starts at 7:30 p.m.

 

 

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