Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010 | 12:10 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer wrap up the football season by discussing Bishop Gorman's second straight state championship and introduce the basketball season. They also discuss who to look out for next football season and debate the merits of sweatpants.
It didn’t take long for members of the Bishop Gorman High basketball team to be reminded of how they typically receive an opponent’s best effort each game.
The two-time defending state champion Gaels on Friday fell behind 11-0 early in the first quarter of their season opener against host Durango. The early deficit can partially be credited to first-game jitters, but more importantly, a spirited effort from an upset-minded Durango squad.
Gorman wasted little time rallying back. It scored the game’s next 12 points to take the lead and eventually used its depth to make quick work of Durango in the final three quarters of an 85-52 victory.
“We definitely have a big target on our backs for sure,” Gorman senior guard Ryan Parks said. “(The opposition) always bring their best for us.”
Gorman junior wing Shabazz Muhammad, the third overall recruiting prospect in the nation for the class of 2012 by Rivals.com, had a game-high 24 points to lead the charge. After only being ahead 15-14 after the initial quarter, Gorman outscored Durango 30-12 in the second and 26-7 in the third.
“We weathered the storm,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “We knew Durango would come out and hit some shots and have that energy to start.”
Gorman took command in the third quarter, relying on 6-foot-8 post player Ben Carter to change the pace of the game. Carter, who scored 10 points in the quarter, also recorded seven of his eight blocks in third-quarter outburst.
Those blocks helped Gorman get out on the fast break, where players such as Muhammad outraced Durango down the court for easy opportunities near the basket.
“It was a real rough start, but you have to give Durango credit. They are a good team,” Muhammad said. “We just had to keep our head up, not get down and play our game.”
Muhammad wasn't a one-man show.
Gorman has four players with major Division I scholarship offers in the regular rotation, but it’s players such as Parks who will likely be the key to the success. Parks, who is Gaels’ top outside shooter, finished with 12 points.
“It’s the four, five and six guys around those (players with offers) who can really help us,” Rice said.